KARACHI: The travel and tourism industry’s direct contribution to the country’s economy was in excess of Rs500 billion in 2014 and the number is projected to surpass Rs1 trillion in 2025, says the first such report on the country’s hospitality sector.
With local tourism on the rise, domestic spending accounted for 92% of the total travel and tourism’s gross domestic product (GDP) in 2014, said the report, prepared by hotel-booking website Jovago Pakistan, that was unveiled at ‘The Patio’ on Wednesday.
A further breakdown revealed that out of the total travel and tourism GDP, 83% was spent on leisure travel while 16.9% was spent on business engagements.
The purpose of the report is to strengthen the tourism sector and share insights regarding the industry in Pakistan, Jovago said in its press release.
“Our objective is to promote local tourism by educating tourists,” Jovago’s Managing Director Nadine Malik said, adding they want to make sure customers feel safe when making online bookings. “We want to create a market for online booking.
“Domestic tourism is being promoted mainly because of social media; we now see more people willing to travel within Paksitan,” she said.
Briefing a select group of journalists and bloggers, the MD said that although the company operated globally, it was trying to localise Jovago as much as possible. For example, she said, the company has introduced a ‘book-now-pay-later’ option to suit people in Pakistan.
A subsidiary of Germany’s Rocket Internet, Jovago launched its operations in Pakistan in April, 2014. It now boasts 50 employees and has grown a network of more than 2,000 hotels from 160 cities registered on its website.
Though Malik talked about the achievements of Jovago, she refused to disclose financials. The company has witnessed up to 40% month-on-month growth in the number of bookings on its website, according to its global chief Paul Midy whom The Express Tribune interviewed earlier this year.
The company is heavily betting on local tourism, fine-tuned the report to attract foreign tourists as well.
For example, it talks about five of the world’s highest peaks, which are in Pakistan; the UNESCO-recognised heritage sites; the country’s cultural and geographical landscape, the scenic beauty of its northern areas and different sectors of the economy.
In 2015, the report says many famous international tourists, such as Mike Horn, Brandon Stanton, Sophee Southall and Billy Bierling visited Pakistan.
Though there is very low percentage of foreign tourists visiting the country, the company is confident that the number would increase. Total spending by foreign visitors stood at a meagre 8% of the sector’s economic output in 2014.
Published in The Express Tribune, December 17th, 2015.