ISLAMABAD: The federal government is planning to roll out multiple initiatives in a bid to revitalize the tourism industry and project a positive image of Pakistan globally through the use of modern means of communication.
“After successfully suppressing the coronavirus pandemic in the country, our prime focus now is on promoting multi-faceted tourism from across the globe,” a senior PTDC officer told APP, while sharing the government’s two years performance pertaining to the tourism sector.
He said that the Pakistan Tourism Development Corporation (PTDC), is preparing to launch all initiatives which were delayed due to the closure of the sector in the wake of coronavirus.
The PTDC, he said, has developed ‘Brand Pakistan’ with the help of international experts and would launch it soon to introduce the country as a tourism destination across the globe. Brand Pakistan has three main components which include brand identity development, musical score creation and an interactive e-portal, he added.
The officer said that an exclusive e-portal would be launched to provide exposure to Pakistan’s tourist attractions through one click. “The portal will consist of a user-friendly interface through which tourists will be able get a view of Pakistan’s tourism sites through virtual galleries, videos and documentaries and avail the various available services.”
He said that the development of a National Tourism Strategy (2020-2030) is in the final stages which is meant to develop a harmonised framework for the tourism sector, after taking all the stakeholders on board. The strategy would focus on four key areas including good governance, tourism demand and supply, jobs creation and growth.
He said that Pakistan is also preparing to host the ‘World Tourism Forum’ next year to showcase the country’s tourism potential, attract investment and build Pakistan into an international brand. “The participation of over 1,000 foreign visitors, including investors, companies, tourists and holiday makers is expected,” he said.
Highlighting steps taken by the government for the promotion of tourism in the last two years, he said that prior to Covid-19, the government undertook multiple initiatives at the policy level, formed authorities at the federal level to boost coordination among federating units and opened up the country by easing the visa process.
He said the government constituted the National Tourism Coordination Board (NTCB) with representation from all the provinces and stakeholders. Nine working groups were formed to assist the NTCB, with each group assigned a specific thematic area such as policy and regulatory reforms, eco tourism, culture and heritage tourism, religious tourism and others.
The board is responsible for coordination between federal, provincial and regional tourism organisations and departments and international tourism bodies for promoting the country’s tourism sector.
The officer said that the PTDC restructuring has been completed to transform it into a progressive, efficient and technology savvy organisation.
He said the government has relaxed its visa policy for boosting the influx of foreign tourists into the country.
The officer said that e-visa facility is being provided to over 170 countries, whereas visa on arrival to citizens of 50 countries is also being provided. So far around 120,000 international visitors have utilised these services to obtain a Pakistani visa, he added.
He said that the Tourism Development Endowment Fund with the seed money of Rs1 billion has been established after receiving concurrence from all the stakeholders.
The fund would be utilised to promote tourism potential of Pakistan. It would also aid the tourism industry in matters related to hospitality services, standards and certifications, research and analysis and centralising the tourism database, he added.