ISLAMABAD: The National Tourism Coordination Board (NTCB) will submit a ‘tourism reopening proposal’ to the National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC) after Eidul Azha holidays.
The decision to this effect was taken by the NTCB, which met with Special Assistant to Prime Minister (SAPM) Overseas Pakistanis and Human Resource Development Sayed Zulfikar Abbas Bukhari in the chair.
“The consultative meeting was held with all provincial/regional governments to discuss the appropriate time to reopen the country’s tourism sector,” according to a statement issued on Thursday. “Adviser to Punjab Chief Minister on Tourism Asif Mehmood, Pakistan Tourism Development Corporation (PTDC) Managing Director Syed Intikhab Alam and NTCB and PTDC board member Aftabur Rehman Rana were also present on the occasion.”
Discussing various options for the reopening of tourism, the participants unanimously agreed that any decision in this regard should be taken by the NCOC after evaluating the ground situation of the coronavirus pandemic in the country.
The meeting also deliberated on safety measures and preparedness for the reopening of tourism services. The provincial and regional governments informed the NTCB chairman that tourism-related guidelines for operators, hotels, restaurants and tourist places were ready to operate.
The participants were of the opinion that the time was ripe for the tourism sector to restart as the COVID-19 curve had started flattening across the country. However, the situation needed to be closely observed on Eid and during Muharram.
The provincial and regional heads of tourism were told that necessary preparations and awareness should be undertaken so that opening of controlled tourism under standard operating procedures could be made possible after the final decision of NCOC.
SAPM Sayed Zulfikar Bukhari appreciated the support extended by the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government to tourism businesses in terms of renewal of licenses and registration fees.
He urged other provincial governments to consider similar support initiatives for tourism businesses that had suffered during the prevailing situation.