Termed “The Best Holiday Destination for 2020”, Pakistan has, of late, gained international significance as a popular and budding tourist hub despite longstanding security issues. Tourists have long been attracted to the country owing to its natural beauty, cultural diversity and historical richness. From the ruins of Mohenjo-Daro and Harappa to the valleys, meadows and mountain ranges of the Northern regions, as well as 300 species of wildlife animals, Pakistan’s exotic landscape remains unparalleled in the sub-continent.
The current government’s recent decision of ending the mandatory No Objection Certificate for tourists shows they have acknowledged its importance and decided to act. All they need to do now is continue to build upon it. Pakistan has a year till it hosts the World Tourism Forum, a five-day event which will cater to over 1,000 foreign visitors specifically from D-8 countries. Perhaps this is the miracle that the current government is in dire need of, since building a strong and rigid tourism industry can greatly boost foreign exchange and in turn significantly aid the ailing economy. Further initiatives such as the five-year tourism action plan and the launch of a tourism e-portal by the end of the year indicates that the government is moving in the right direction.
However, one major hindrance that the country is yet to fully tackle, even though it has been improved upon, is the security situation in the country. Both internal and external security situation has over the years restricted foreign tourists and investors from visiting the country freely. Apart from ensuring security, it is also essential for the government to focus on preserving wildlife and reducing pollution since the constant increase in global warming and climate change can put the whole initiative in a peril in an instant. The tourism industry, which remains one of the greatest potentials in the country, can prove extremely prosperous in the long run.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 13th, 2020.
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