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Pakistan seeks intensified tourism at global fair.

Pakistan signified its unswerving determination of intensify its tourism promotion drive by registering its consecutive participation yet again at the International Tourism Exchange (ITB) held in Berlin (West), the annual event that draws both professionals and policy-makers in the travel industry from across the globe in a bid to keep up with the fast changing world of tourist economies and the new tourist delights that only wait to be discovered. The ITB, whose venue finds itself in the historic but divided city of Berlin hitherto, was invested with a unique significance this year due to the political forces underlying a unification of the Federal Republic of Germany (FRG) with the German Democratic Republic (GDR) rapidly heading towards a denouement, holding out promise not only of a new political destiny but also of a vastly expanded tourist market in the offing for the industry as a whole.

Pakistan's well laid-out and visually appealing pavilion at the ITB was a touristic presentation by eighteen tour operators, hoteliers as also the national airline, with representatives of the industry from the provinces as well. Supplementing the show was an interesting on-the-spot display of native handicrafts, carpets, brassware and screen panels, with partial demonstration of local skills in the art of dyeing.

That Pakistan was steadily elevating tourism to the status of an industry and providing it with necessary incentives to realise its fullest potential was confirmed by the country's Minister of State for Tourism Syed Qasim Shah who reported he was "very impressed" with the breadth and significance of this world's leading travel fair. "Our government has already declared tourism as an industry eligible for special concessions and we have identified new areas for public sector participation as well as those for private sector tourism", stated the ministers whose first ever visit to the ITB also provided him with the germination of new ideas on the subject. The minister, who led a high-powered delegation to the tourism fair, had talks with German banks on their possible participation in the planned setting up of a Tourism Finance Corporation in Pakistan in terms of equity and management. "A prominent German bank has expressed its keenness to avail of our offer", said Mr. Shah.

Pakistan's tourist fortunes have entered an upward curve, registering over 277,000 total arrivals in 1989 and reflecting a 9 per cent rise over the previous year's figure of 254,000, according to official sources. Although Europe sends a substantial number of tourists to Pakistan, nearly 30 per cent of the total figure was accounted for by German arrivals, it was understood. "We are concentrating on the German market as it has the best potential for us in Europe, especially in view of the unification process of the two Germanys now in motion", elaborated Minister Shah. German investors were being offered attractive business propositions to have a stake in the country's tourist sector too, it was pointed out. Expectedly, the ITB was notable this time for the large number of visitors from the GDR as well as a strong representation by its travel industry. The detailed inquiries made by this new clientele spoke of a new source of economic strength in the reckoning for holiday destinations around the globe, with Asian countries surely in the running. Governing Mayor of Berlin Walter Momper told the inaugural gathering at the fair that Berlin would now be more reflective of the German unification process, restoring the elements of a divided city to a natural whole, as it were. World tourism continued to shoot up in 1989. Some 404 million tourist worldwide spent US $ 209 billion, making tourism the third largest export-oriented sector in the world, after the oil and automobile industries. Reflecting this phenomenon was the ITB in 1990, drawing some 3500 exhibitors from 160 countries in a panoramic projection of holiday paradises in the world.
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Publication:Economic Review
Date:May 1, 1990
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