KARACHI: Highlighting the potential of Sindh as a platform to export the soft image of Pakistan, the Word Tourism Day was celebrated at a seminar, 'Tourism Potential in Sindh', on Tuesday.
"Sindh possesses rich lakes and great archeological finds that can promote tourism," said Sindh Tourism Development Corporation chief executive Nazir Ahmed Soomro
Researcher and speaker Kaleemullah Lashari, while presenting his paper, traced out the history of travellers from the world over, including Ibn Battuta, who travelled into South Asia and documented Sindh. "In recent times, the world has witnessed three major events, the first and second world wars and 9/11, that have really transformed tourism vis-à-vis international affairs," said Lashari.
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"We need to stress on developing the industry by making the differently-abled people better educated and knowledgeable about tourism in Sindh, allowing pathways for wheelchair users possible and by introducing sign language," said Lashari.
"I am deeply saddened that we don't know how to cash in on the tourism potential of Sindh. Look at how Malaysia and Singapore have progressed on the foothold of tourism," said Pakistan Hotel Association senior vice chairperson Mustansir Zakir, adding that in the last 25 years, we have not even been able to add a new hotel in Karachi, which is the hub of growth and investment in Pakistan.
"Communities here and elsewhere really need to get motivated to explore their world and surroundings. It's high time that we realise the potential of Sindh and export it worldwide," said former Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA) Pakistan chapter chairperson Salman Javed.
There are three kinds of tourism - spiritual, intellectual and recreational -, according to Sindh culture and tourism secretary Ghulam Akbar Leghari. "When I travelled to Oxford University, it was a spiritual affair because I was so taken by the image of a place of learning," said Leghari, adding that intellectual tourism can spring from a visit to Louvre Museum in Paris or a visit to Nepal to see the birth place of Buddha.
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"In Pakistan, we need to stress on recreational or entertainment tourism. We need to develop our beaches," stressed Leghari, adding that nothing can be achieved till we make sure that we are safe and secure. Security rules supreme in this context, he explained.
The ministry of culture, tourism and antiquities had also organsied a cooking competition among the students of Pakistan Institute of Tourism and Hotel Management.
Meanwhile, culture, tourism and antiquities minister Syed Sardar Ali Shah, the chief guest, was not present at the event despite an earlier commitment.
Published in The Express Tribune, September 29th, 2016.
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