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Promotion of Pakistan tourism.

During the last few years Pakistan has been making intensive efforts to boost tourism (out-bound) and create awareness of attractions of group tours. Selling inclusive tour is a specialised field and calls for special training to meet the demand of the market. Since Gerry's Tours has stepped into inclusive tour business by establishing a separate section of tours, a considerable progress has been achieved in this field. Following a thorough study, it has now decided to promote in-bound tourism which is expected to provide a vital service. They also have received letters from abroad and recently from Yugoslavian Trade Commissioner in which they have enquired about the programmes.

Pakistan has an almost unlimited potential as a tourist destination. Its rich and varied resources, with proper promotion and likely to attract a steady stream of tourists. The awareness in this direction is generally building up, but a lot still remains to be done in terms of taking concrete steps towards finding ways and means for developing the infrastructure.

This include providing ground facilities for tourists at competitive cost, opening moderately priced hotels, motels and resthouses, better and cheaper means of public transportation, easing up procedural formalities for obtaining government permissions, setting up tourist information centers in the tourist information centers in the tourist generating countries, as well as within Pakistan and equipping these centers with up-to-date information data to enable them to properly project Pakistan as a major tourist destination.

Due to Pakistan's geographical position, the tourism market plans necessitate a programme with neighbour countries also and we must try to increase the cooperation with China and SAARC countries. We should propose to have joint promotions and sales missions with these countries, particularly in the market where PIA do not fly to. On the importance of tourism, there were a talk in the SAARC Conference in Islamabad and many of heads of the SAARC states stressed upon the need to develop the regional tourism. To raise such an important point from the SAARC forum is an encouraging factor, therefore, some practical steps to promote regional tourism required to be taken.

In tourism we have to cooperate with other countries to get the long-haul markets as consumers talk of how many places they could visit. Pakistan also stand to be benefited from increased traffic to China and India "if one looks at the tourist pattern it shows that tourists to these two countries visit Pakistan as well".

On the problem of lack of awareness, it is now only confined to certain markets. We should use our advertising and news media more effectively. The same should go for posters and other promotional materials the contents which project the Pakistani identity. Presently the material used either by PTDC or private sector, should be more largely designed and widely circulated. One of the main projects should be taken into consideration, is to hold more tourism conventions and seminars - a marketing tool to draw attention to Pakistan. We can also sell Pakistan's beauty through international sports events. The PTDC should sponsor a number of events ranging from Tennis, Football, Golf tournaments and Powerboat racing etc. Sports is considered a non-controversial theme and has less chance of running foul against certain moralist groups.

We request the Government to consider the genuine the logical idea keeping view its economical and political aspects to promote tourism in the country and give in-coming tourist a choice of destination. Any destination away from home presents a viable option as the whole purpose of the holiday is to relax and unwind. Pakistan has archaeological heritage, it comprises places which have been big centers of very old civilisations of the world. The tourists, fond of the ancient places, could be easily attracted by properly projecting such areas. For instance, to attract Far-East countries people who are mostly Buddhists, we can show them a lot of Buddhist Stuppas, monastries and the temples of Taxila in our northern parts of Pakistan. But a very few of foreign tourists are aware of such beauty and worthful places which could be visited in Pakistan. We can explore our tourism either to European countries or USA and a large potential lies in inviting tourists from Thailand, India, Singapore, Malaysia including may countries of middle east which can benefit the country to earn foreign exchange. Recently we have visited Thailand and knew the interest of the Thai people to visit their Buddhist attraction in Pakistan and the Ministry of Tourism of Thailand is also interested to send their tourists to Pakistan. Singapore nationals also with to travel to Pakistan and they always showed their interest.

We request our Ministry of Culture and Tourism that no further time should be wasted for the development of tourism by having a strong infrastructure, inviting necessary proposals and suggestions from the concerned agencies, like travel Agents, Tour Operators, Hotliers, Transporters, Journalists and other experts of this field to promote tourism which has recently been declared as an industry.
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Author:Hussain, Syed Sarwar
Publication:Economic Review
Date:Feb 1, 1992
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