Focus on tourism urged to generate business activities

Official says sector has immense potential, can enhance revenue

Our Correspondent March 10, 2019

ISLAMABAD: The government should focus on tourism as it possesses immense untapped potential to generate business activities and enhance revenue, said Islamabad Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ICCI) President Ahmed Hassan Moughal.

Addressing a meeting of ICCI Tourism Committee, he said, “Tourism is one of the fast growing industries in the world with over 10% share in global GDP in 2017 and it is becoming an important source of revenue generation too,” the chamber chief outlined.

“However despite possessing most attractive tourist spots, Pakistan has been unable to capitalise on this sector for generating economic activities.”

Quoting figures, he informed that Turkey attracted 37 million foreign tourists in 2017, Italy 53 million, China 60 million and Spain 75 million.

On the other hand, Pakistan attracted only around two million foreign tourists in the same period, which reflected its unsatisfactory performance, he remarked.

Moughal revealed that as per World Tourism and Travel Council, direct contribution of tourism in Pakistan’s GDP stood at a mere 2.7%, which was not encouraging by any standards.

“Tourism contributes over 20% in GDP of many countries including Turkey,” he shared and urged the government to prioritise this vital sector, which has the potential to place the country on the path of sustainable growth.

Speaking on the occasion, ICCI Tourism Committee Chairman Muhammad Arshad Mehmood Janjua stressed the need for a new tourism policy, which facilitates private sector.

Welcoming the government’s measure of allowing on-arrival business visa facility to 66 countries, the committee members urged the government to streamline it further to facilitate foreign tourists.

“A lot of work needs to be done to improve tourism infrastructure,” they declared and requested the government to grant good incentives to the private sector to steer investment in tourism.

They were of the view that Pakistan could generate hefty revenue by diverting attention to the tourism sector. 

Published in The Express Tribune, March 10th, 2019.

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