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Pakistan's steady profile at world tourism fair.

This world tourism fair is a very efficient way of promoting tourism and a country can do no better than to be present here for exposure and interaction", opined Mr. Malik Abdul Waheed, Managing Director of Pakistan Tourism Development Corporation, while giving an assessment of his first ever visit to the International Tourism Exchange (ITB) that, significantly, took place in Berlin for the first time in a united Germany. The ITB is an annual event that has come to be regarded as the "Centre of the tourist world", drawing the highest concentration of travel trade professionals and policy-makers to Berlin in an exercise calculated to take note of the latest configuration of tourist economies and the new tourist delights that only wait to be discovered.

Pakistan's attractive pavilion at the ITB was an eye-catching presentation by some eighteen organisations comprising hoteliers, tour operators, Tourism Development Corporations of Pakistan's provinces, and the national airline. The participants brought with them the message that tourism in Pakistan had undergone a radical change dictated both by the government's Perspective Plan for the coming ten years and the concomitant National Tourism Policy recently announced, on the one hand, and the effects of the far-reaching economic reforms initiated by the new government on tourism, on the other.

Tourism in Pakistan has already entered a sharper profile in recent years, with 1990 drawing some 280,000 tourists and reflecting a rise of 2.7 per cent over that of 1989. Germany has also distinguished itself by sending nearly 30 per cent of European arrivals last year.

"What is worthy of note are some of the measures brought into force by your government to boost tourism such as foreign exchange for opening offices abroad and for marketing tourism as well as concessional loan financing for tourism-related projects", stated Mr. Khawar Ayaz, a senior official of Pakistan's Ministry of Tourism. The country's main attractions at present were "adventure and culture tourism", it was pointed out.

Mr. Ayaz also disclosed that Pakistan's tourism sector was planning to tackle the German market in a concentrated way in view of the high visibility of this section of tourists who were keen on trekking, white water rafting, mountaineering and other forms of adventure tourism. Pakistan's participation at the ITB was supported by the German Agency for Technical Co-operation (GTZ), a body that assisted developing countries through product-oriented marketing advisory services and facilitated participation in German trade fairs.

Pakistani exhibitors concurred with the view that an enlarged Germany would bring in a lot more tourists than was the case hitherto. Also, the changed scenario in Eastern Europe was being looked forward to for providing more visitors in the long run as their economies gradually entered the mainstream of the global monetary system. Many developing countries also lay great store by tourism for diversifying their economic structures, open up their economies, create employment and earn foreign exchange. And the ITB was being regarded as the gateway to this economic revival.

World tourism continued to march on, however, last year. According to the World Tourism Organisation (WTO) in Madrid, 1990 saw a new record in worldwide travel, touching 415 million and showing a 2.4 per cent rise over that of the previous year. Total international tourism earnings also shot up to US$ 230 billion, reflecting an increase of 10 per cent over that of 1989.

The ITB too set up its own record this year, drawing some 3800 exhibitors from 156 countries in a fascinating projection of holiday destinations around the world available to the intrepid traveller of today. Indeed, tourism was the most powerful factor for international solidarity and peace in the strife-torn world of today, the ITB seemed to say. And the thousands of visitors who thronged the six-day fair were proof that we lived in an interdependent world where harmony should reign supreme.
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Title Annotation:International Tourism Exchange
Publication:Economic Review
Date:Apr 1, 1991
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