Karachi: President Pakistan Businessmen and Intellectuals Forum (PBIF), President AKIA, Senior Vice Chairman of the Businessmen Panel of FPCCI and former provincial minister, Mian Zahid Hussain on Wednesday said that there lie huge potential of tourism in Pakistan. From Balochistan to KPK there are various tourism attraction points which if developed with latest facilities hundreds of thousands tourists can be attracted from World thus significant increase in foreign exchange can be observed. According to Pakistan Tourism Development Corporation, 1.8 million tourists out of whom 70 percent were foreigners have visited different tourist sites in 2017 which is 70 percent higher than that of 2016.
The veteran business leader while talking to the business community said that apart from famous tourism sites in Pakistan many are still unexplored due to difficult access. Moola chotok, an amazing tourist attraction site located at a distance of 150 kilometres from Khuzdar in Balochistan and Pir Gheb with astonishing beauty in Mastung district of Baluchistan are still unexplored because of limited facilities and difficult access. Gorakh Hills a beautiful tourist site in district Dadu rightly called the Murree of Sindh is hard to reach by tourists due to absence of required facilities. Facilities are required in various districts of Punjab including Bahwalpur, Attock, Multan and Chakwal to promote tourism. Northern parts of the Country and KPK have been of tourists’ interest and have relatively better facilities but there are still much to do for the development of tourism in the respective areas.
The former minister said that according to World Travel and Tourism Council the local tourism industry has contributed $ 20 billion which is approx. 7 percent of the GDP and 6 percent annual growth is expected. By 2027 tourism sector will contribute up to $ 36 billion to the Country’s GDP. It is important to develop the sacred sites and places considered sacred in different religions including Hinduism, Sikhism and Budhmat. It will not only attract followers of these religions but will also help in creating soft image of Pakistan in the World.
Mian Zahid Hussain said that the British backpacker society whose members have visited 100+ countries has nominated Pakistan as the best tourism destination in 2018. By developing tourism sector in the Country other associated sectors of economy will experience high growth including Hotel industry, Transportation, Airline, Handicrafts and cultural sectors. In addition, the living standard of locals in the respective tourists’ attraction areas will improve. Currently, 4.6 million people are associated with travel and tourism industry which are expected to grow by 3 percent annually. If revolutionary reforms, as required are made in the tourism sector, all associated sectors of economy will observe growth and will provide significant support to the National economy.