ISLAMABAD: Special Assistant to the Prime Minister (PM) for Overseas Pakistanis Syed Zulfikar Bukhari, on Tuesday, urged the Saudi Minister for Tourism Ahmed Bin Aqeel Al-Khateeb to explore investment opportunities in Pakistan’s tourism sector.
Bukhari, who is also the Chairman of National Tourism Coordination Board (NTCB), said that Pakistan’s tourism sector has a huge potential and Saudi Arabia should consider it as an investment opportunity, while addressing an online meeting with the Saudi minister.
The Saudi minister asked the NTCB chairman to share a draft of Pakistan’s tourism strategy so Saudi Arabia can carry out an assessment of Pakistan’s tourism potential.
Both the sides discussed strategies to reopen tourism in their respective countries and laid emphasis on its importance for economic recovery.
Zulfikar Bukhari informed the Saudi minister that the Government of Pakistan’s plans to boost investment for small sites as well as big projects which can be a lucrative investment for the hotel industry.
Ahmed Bin Aqeel Al-Khateeb informed the NTCB chairman regarding the newly established $4 billion Tourism Development Fund in Saudi Arabia. He also extended an offer to project Pakistan as a tourist destination in Saudi Arabia.
The Saudi minister also underlined the need for assessing regulations regarding development of the tourism industry.
Zulfikar Bukhari further informed the Saudi minister regarding the soon to be launched, Pakistan’s first-ever national tourism brand. He also informed the minister about his upcoming visit to Saudi Arabia to further collaborate on tourism projects that had been delayed due to Covid-19.
Earlier, on June 21, Saudi Arabia announced that it plans to start a tourism development fund with an initial $4 billion investment, as part of its plans to diversify the economy in the face of the coronavirus pandemic and low oil prices.
The Tourism Development Fund will launch equity and debt investment vehicles to develop the tourism sector in collaboration with private and investment banks.
“The launch of the fund at this time, as the tourism sector faces unprecedented global challenges, is testament to investor and private-sector confidence in the long-term outlook for tourism in Saudi Arabia,” Saudi Minister of Tourism Ahmed Al-Khateeb said in his statement.