Tourism in Pakistan, after a decade of neglect, is returning to the big door

Tourists have long been attracted by Pakistan and the experiences they can experience in a country full of natural beauty, cultural richness and unique hospitality. But the massive tourist potential of Pakistan, from the second highest mountain ...

Tourists have long been attracted by Pakistan and the experiences they can experience in a country full of natural beauty, cultural richness and unique hospitality.

But Pakistan's massive tourism potential, from the world's second-highest mountain to impressive 10th-century archeological sites, is overshadowed by security concerns and regional instability. Shift.

Last week, at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan spoke about the rise of tourism there, calling it "with the great potential of Pakistan".

Pakistan wants to harness that potential. The country is in the process of developing a marketing campaign called "Brand Pakistan" to promote its image abroad, and will host meetings of World Tourism Forum leaders later this year. This country is attracting the attention of Western corporations. Radisson Hotel Group announced its first hotel in Pakistan last year.

The rise of modern tourism in Pakistan began in the XNUMXs when the country emerged as a destination for adventure lovers and climbing enthusiasts.

However, the tourism industry was virtually destroyed after the September 11, 2001 attacks on the United States as many Western world governments issued warnings about travel to Pakistan, a country then considered one of the most dangerous in the world. And after a large bomb exploded in front of the Marriott Hotel in the Pakistani capital Islamabad in 2008, British Airways stopped flying to that country.

But slowly but surely, tourism is returning to the big door in 2019. After more than a decade, British Airways is flying to Pakistan again.

According to the Pakistan Tourism Development Corporation, the number of foreign travelers visiting the country with a tourist visa in 2017 was 10.476. That number rose by as much as 70 percent in 2018, to 17.823. During a speech at the World Economic Forum, Imran Khan said tourism doubled between 2018 and 2019.

Khanu’s work on tourism development and increasing tourism numbers is the cornerstone of the mandate. He put improving security and reducing the complexity of visa policy at the top of the list of priorities; citizens of 175 countries can apply for a visa online.

"Although the world is obsessed with traveling to the north of Pakistan, the country is much more than a destination for adventure tourism“, Said Muhammad Waleed, co-founder of the Destination Pakistan Tourism Promotion Platform. The country is geographically very diverse; in addition to its famous mountain peaks, Pakistan has a desert, lakes, forests and more than a thousand kilometers of coastline from which the Khan government plans to develop world-class beaches.

"Pakistan has historical tourism, it has a 5 year old Indus Valley civilization, Mohenjo Daro, which is one of the oldest. It also has religious tourism; it has some of the holiest sites for Hinduism, Sikhism, Sufism and Buddhism. Finally, there is mountain tourism - almost half of the peaks exceed over 7 thousand meters in heightSaid Khan in Davos.

The 700-year-old Batit Fortress in northern Pakistan has been on the UNESCO World Heritage List since 2004.

The total contribution of tourism to gross domestic product is expected to increase from $ 22 billion in 2017 to nearly $ 40 billion by 2028, according to a report released by the World Tourism Council (WTTC).

"But the rapid growth of tourism does not come without complications. There is still no infrastructure, and the country needs more hotels and trained catering staff", Said Karim Uddin, owner of the travel agency Active Tours Pakistan. The impact of tourism on the environment is also worrying.

"The country is currently at an exciting turning point: since tourism has been so neglected for decades, it basically has the opportunity to fundamentally design a sustainable tourism industrySaid blogger Alex Reynolds. "If strong foundations are laid now, the country will thrive in the coming years and can serve as a model for other neglected developing countries in their efforts to increase tourism."

Find out more information about tourism development in Pakistan on their official website Pakistan Tourism Development Corporation.

Source / photo: Skift; Pixabay - Cover photo: Aakash Ashraf, Pexels.com

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