That tourism is one of the most dynamic economic sectors in the global economy has no two opinions. Growth in the tourism sector drives grow in the economy. Tourism earns foreign exchange which can be used to produce goods and services and to import capital goods, leading to economic growth. The growth of tourism also leads to a growth of household incomes directly and indirectly by means of multiplier effects, further contributing to economic growth. It also creates employment opportunities, promote infrastructure development and set up positive linkages with other sectors of the economy.
While tourism has proved to be a major source of foreign exchange earnings for Europe and the Middle East, it has worked wonders in case of the Asia Pacific region, with the tourism industry ranking second in Hong Kong, Malaysia and the Philippines, and third in Singapore and Indonesia, according to a study. In sheer contrast, Pakistan has failed to tap the huge monetary potential of tourism, just like other sectors of the economy, despite being blessed with an immense treasure of natural beauty; mysterious remains of ancient dwellers; sacred sites appealing various religions; hugely diverse cultures; and all four seasons.
With the state now coming to grips with the law and order problem that turned the country into a no-go zone for foreigners for very many years, there could be no better time to promote the country’s immense tourism potential. With the same in view perhaps, Prime Minister Imran Khan has introduced online visa system for foreign tourists that would allow them to obtain a visa to Pakistan without having to visit a Pakistani mission. The new e-visa scheme, launched at a ceremony in Islamabad on Thursday, will facilitate visitors from 175 countries, opening Pakistan’s doors to almost the entire world.
Like a keen and accomplished travel guide, the prime minister pointed towards the captivating scenic beauty that abounds all along in the north as well as revered sites and ancient civilisations that have yet to be shared to the world in a true sense. Declaring that PSL-5 will be held at home, the PM invited the world to discover a secure Pakistan.
Published in The Express Tribune, March 17th, 2019.
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