Muslim past makes Spain attractive for Pakistani tourists: Envoy

Says tourism,culture can further cement bilateral ties


DNA October 09, 2019
Spain Tourism. PHOTO: FILE

ISLAMABAD: Ambassador of Spain Manuel Duran has said Spain and Pakistan have a lot in common.

The Muslim past of Spain (Al-Andalus) makes our country a very attractive tourist destination for Pakistanis and more and more Spaniards are coming to Pakistan to discover the beauty of its mountains and landscapes.

“Our two countries are willing to expand this good relationship by getting to know each other better. We are organizing a beautiful concert for April 2020 in which a Spanish flamenco group and Pakistani sufi performers will show everyone how beautifully both styles go together,” said the Spanish ambassador in an interview to DNA.

He added, actually part of the flamenco tradition stems from Sindh and from the soulful and very spiritual chants that can still be heard in that region. The idea of melting together both styles proves that we have a lot of things in common and that we should explore more into our two cultures and find the many links that exist between them

Travelling and promoting cultural activities that bond our two nations are a both perfect ways of strengthening our already solid ties.

While talking about business ties, the ambassador said: “Our trade and economic relations are doing very well.

The interest towards Pakistan as a potential market for Spanish companies is growing, and Pakistan is opening itself to our products and to possible investors by facilitating their presence here.”

He said Pakistan exports more than one billion to Spain, mostly textiles, while Spain brings to Pakistan technology, tiles and olive oil. But there are several projects in the making.

A Spanish company might start manufacturing helmets here in Pakistan. They would make the helmets according to the Pakistani regulations regarding the kind of helmets required to drive a motorcycle.

This would be a milestone for it would imply a direct investment in Pakistan. Other companies are also exploring this market.

When asked to comment on Pakistan’s investment climate the ambassador said, a lot of progress has been made in the last five years, but there is still room for improvement.

“I cannot hide the fact that our trade volume plays in favour of Pakistan; therefore I would like to increase the level of our exports to Pakistan. That can be done , but for that to happen, Pakistan must ease the  barriers that currently prevent many Spanish products from entering Pakistan mainly the labeling of the product in Urdu and the Halal requisite also on the labels.”

He said consumer goods from Spain would be appreciated by the growing Pakistani middle classes and Spanish technology can foster the development of Pakistan.

Railways could be an example of this. “We are also ready to export items such as very high quality bathroom equipment made with a very groundbreaking design.”

Not only the materials such as porcelain are really competitive, but also the aluminum for the faucets and tubes. Kitchen equipment is also very competitive.

The ambassador said Spain produced furniture with a modern design but a good price. And of course, technology that can be applied to different industries already operating in Pakistan, he added.  

Published in The Express Tribune, October 9th, 2019.

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