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Tourism is positive to economy.

Tourism is Positive to Economy

Tourism is an important world activity in the hospitality industry and at Karachi Sheraton tourists comprise about 4 per cent of its Room business. Tourism is a mean to bridging the political, racial, cultural and geographical gaps, and to bring man closer to his basic unity.

Tourism is a potent instrument of foreign policy insofar as it serves to build a nation's image. Tourism is a socio-economic force which, if properly fostered, can accelerate - even initiate - development in the various sectors of a nation's economy, social life, education and environment.

Tourism is a source of foreign exchange earnings right at your doorstep. It is an export, and travel agents are the exporters. Unlike other exporters, the travel agents do not send the goods and services abroad to bring in the proceeds thereof; they bring into the country the buyer - the tourist - who pays in foreign exchange for all that he sees, or takes back with him.

Pakistan is a land of small hills and great mountain ranges of Karakoram, Hindukush and Himalayas, K-2, the world's second highest peak and of the world's longest range of great glaciers outside the Polar regions. Pakistan is a land of gurgling springs and cascades, soft-flowing and bountiful rivulets as in the picturesque green valleys of Gilgit, Swat, Chitral and Kaghan. It is a land of the River Indus and of the scorching desert of Thar with long shores of the Arabian Sea.

Pakistan has fabulous remains of the ancient civilization and of medieval kingdoms; inspiring monuments and gigantic man-made marvels. We have the excavations of Mohenjodaro, Taxila, Harappa, Bhambore etc. We have the Lahore Fort, the Shalimar Gardens, the mosques of Thatta. Multan and Peshawar, the remains of Umerkot and Daibal. We have the Tarbela Dam and Sukkur Barrage and the maternal river Indus which feeds the world's biggest network of irrigation canals.

Pakistan has an endless variety of fauna and flora. It has the National Park on the Grand Trunk Road built by Sher Shah, the Haleji Lake in Sindh and alto the Rose Garden in Lahore. The variety and age of its cultures and culinary practices are unique. The Heathen community of Kafir Kalash, disdaining the modern civilizational, is a cultural island in the fast progressing Pakistan.

For the sportsman, Pakistan is the home of the majestic game of polo and of the modern hockey, cricket, football, squash, golf and skating. The Karakorams are a special treat for the trekkers and mountaineers who have been attracted towards the singular adventures leadings up to Mount Godvin Auten, the K-2. In the valleys there are endless number of spots for anglers. For the Pilgrims, Pakistan houses many ancient and holy shrines of Buddhism, Silkhism and Hinduism. My mysterious temple of Hinglaj in Balochistan, the Muslim Shrines at Sehwan, Thatta, Lahore and Multan, the Sikh temples in Lahore and Hassan Abdal; the stretch of Buddhist Shrines around Peshawar, Swat and in the Nilam Valley are of ultimate significance to the respective believers from all over the world.

For conventioneers, Pakistan is an ideal location. Constituting the outer flank of South Asia on the one hand and of the Middle East on the other, it is at the cross-roads of commerce among the countries of the two regions. Pakistan is the hub of the modern Islamic movement and houses the headquarters of its chamber of commerce and commodity exchange. Modern convention facilities established by the hotels from Karachi to Peshawar combined with Pakistanhs inimitable traditions of hospitality and service, are exemplary.

The Master Plan

All these plus points and more were taken into account by Pakistan's earlier tourist administrations and proposals for their exploitation were incorporated in the 'Master Plan' which was formulated with the assistance of SEMA under UN auspices. This Master Plan was in two parts: one Five Year Plan for 1965-70; the other a Perspective Plan stretching up to 1985. A reading of this plan inspires respect for its authors for realistic project-plans; its detailed attention on developing primary and secondary infrastructure; and well conceived tourist industry for the country. The Marketing sector, comprising travel agents, was a conspicuous omission of its authors attention.

The importance of the Private Sector, however, was clearly defined and the need for protection, incentives, concessions etc. were suggested for entrepreneurs. Specifically, the Plan suggested that government should grant special incentives such as:

- Tax Holiday

- Loan facilities

- Exemption from Custom Duty and Sales Tax

- Exemption from Municipal & Property Taxes

- Inclusion of the tourist industry in the country's

- Underwriting of share capital and purchase of debenture by government-established financing institutions.

Pakistan tourism nevertheless progressed by sheer force of market and support from the tourist administration. The decade of 1960s in Pakistan had been one of buoyant of economy. New patterns in its international trading and diplomacy had elicited a new touristic curiosity and generated tourist traffic. Such traffic was serviced and sustained by the travel agents of the country in conjunction with the hotels and the airlines. Pakistan International Airlines made quick strides in the expansion of its route network and equipment. The hotel industry witnessed the Intercontinentals, and the first of international hotel chains set up hospitality in Rawalpindi, Lahore and Karachi. Tourist arrivals in Pakistan increased from 73,691 in 1965 to 113,300 in 1971 (the former East Pakistan included) and the receipts increased from US $19.90 million in 1965 to US $31.52 million in 1971.

A New Importance

The year 1972, however, was the turning point. Intensive and extensive activities were commenced both in the private and public sector with the newly established Tourism Division being the initiating/co-ordinating authority. The establishment of the Tourism Division gave the country a viable organizational structure for its tourist administration which now comprises the:

- National Tourism Council,

- Inter-Ministerial Tourism Co-Ordination Committee

- Provincial Tourism Advisory Committee in

- Sindh

- Punjab

- NWFP and

- Balochistan

A link-up was forged with the world Tourist Organisation for policy formulation and the good offices of United Nations Development Programme, and of the International Labour Organization were inducted into government's Programme for vocational training.


Almost 30 major airlines of the world are on ropute to Karachi. The recent expansions of the airports in Peshawar, Lahore and Islamabad have increased direct international flights. Pakistan International Airlines, having a world network covers its entire country with modern aircrafts, excellent technological and handling efficiency, couple with Pakistan's traditional hospitality.

Road Transport

Expansion of the national road network is a constant exercise. The national highways are being extended deep into far flung villages and historical/archaeological sites, likining them with the railways, airlines and Ocean Shipping. Apart from Asians, RCD and the Karakoram Highways, the Khunjrab Pass which opened up Western China directly to Pakistan and facilitated multi-directional tourist arrivals in Pakistan.
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Title Annotation:Pakistan's tourism trade
Author:Kazmi, I.R.
Publication:Economic Review
Date:Oct 1, 1990
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