Pakistan's tourism profile at World Tourism Fair.
The eye-catching Pakistan pavillion projected a composite picture of the national tourist attractions, promoted by eight hoteliers and tour operators as well as the Pakistan Tourism Development Corporation (PTDC). The basic thrust of the promotion was on the northern areas-Gilgit, Skardu, Chitral and Swat-that have been known to be a paradise for mountaineers, trekkers, naturalists, painters and photographers. White water rafting and skiing were additional attractions. "Pakistan offers everything that one would like to choose from: beaches, rivers, deserts, snow-clad mountains, glaciers, forests and many more", stated Ashab Naqvi, Dy. Managing Director of PTDC, who announced that this government would soon be opening a PTDC office in Frankfurt (Germany) this year to facilitate direct marketing. He said German visitors to Pakistan were fairly steady at 12,000 annually, staying for an average length of 12 days.
An official delegation led by Pakistan's Minister of Tourism Shahzada Mohiuddin specially arrived at the ITB to take a first-hand look at the mammoth fair and its marketing potential. Participants at the world tourism fair cocurred with the view that a united Germany would eventually bring in a lot more tourists to their respective destinations than was the case hitherto. Many developing countries also lay great store by tourism for diversifying their economic structures, creating employment and earning foreign exchange. And the ITB was being regarded as the gateway to this economic revival.
The ITB was notable this year for reflecting a deeping interest in the environmental dimension of tourism. In a measure of rising concern for the touristic depredations in many parts of the world, the world tourism fair raised the theme of "Environment against Tourism? Tourism against Environment?" for discussion at an international level, drawing experts from the field. The participants were unanimous in the view that there was no credible alternative to the conservation of Nature if tourism itself was to thrive or even survive. Several visitors questioned at the fair definitely favoured a "return to Naturre and environment-friendly tourism". Indeed, Germany's stance on the environment and its policy initiatives to promote ecological consciousness have been viewed as exemplary, also reflecting the attitude in the choice of tourist destinations by the average German tourist.
Worldd tourism continues to serve as a potent factor for economic uplift and foreign exchange earnings, especially by the poorer countries. The World Tourism Organisation (WTO) in Madrid reports that over 400 million tourist arrivals take place annually, earning some US $ 225 billion forthe industry worldwide. This ranked the tourism industry alongside oil and petroleum, and the automobile industries globally in its economic significance. The International Tourism Exchange, also acclaimed as the "world's largest and most important fair", is regarded as indispensable for anyone and everyone who wishes to succeed in the travel business. This year the fair also took up the issue of the neglected market of women travellers and introduced several innovations in the business travel market. It has also been notching up new records in attendance each year. This time the ITB drew over 4000 exhibitors from 156 countries in a highly competitive projection of holiday destinations worldwide available to the intrepid holiday-maker of today. Indeed, tourism has come to be seen, and rightly so, as the most powerful force for international solidarity and peace in the strife-torn world of today.