ISLAMABAD: Owing to its scenic beauty, Pakistan might be one of the cheapest countries for tourists to visit in the world. The improved law and order situation in the country over the past few years has certainly benefited the tourism industry. However, it has not fully recovered from the damage caused by the terrorist attacks in the tribal regions. Tourism industry is one service sector where huge monetary returns can be generated with the minimum of investment, provided the government ensures the preservation of the cultural and historical heritage sites of Pakistan.
Cultural and lingual diversity combined with tourist attractions in both the metropolises and the country side can reap massive benefits for the economy in the long-term. With more than six of UNESCO’s world heritage sites, Pakistan has enormous potential to compete with other tourist destinations in Asia. The negative image of the country, particularly outside Asia, has prevented tourists from visiting it. As a result, it was ranked at 124th out of 136 countries on the Travel and Tourism Competitiveness Index released by World Economic Forum, this year.
Considering Pakistan’s passport is still ranked the second worst globally for international travel, just above Syria and Iraq, a lot needs to be done to produce a positive narrative of the country. If the government makes use of soft diplomacy in recreating a renewed image of the country and supports the travel industry, tourism is likely to contribute a major share to the GDP and national income.
Published in The Express Tribune, October 1st, 2017.
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