Experts including policy makers, representatives of the federal and provincial governments and heads of various tourism-related companies have declared it essential to promote eco-tourism in the country for recovery of the industry after floods and widespread rains.
The policymakers, federal and provincial government representatives and heads of various tourism-related companies, who discussed the challenges as well as opportunities in the tourism sector during the five sessions of the National Tourism Conference on Monday, said keeping in view safety of heritage and nature, hoteling promotion was also an important area to work on.
The conference was organised by Pakistan Tourism Development Corporation (PTDC) on the theme of "Rethinking Tourism" to celebrate World Tourism Day at Pakistan National Council of the Arts (PNCA).
Speaking at the inaugural session, Adviser to Prime Minister on Tourism and Sports, Awn Chaudry, said tourism, being the backbone of economy and one of the fastest growing industries across the globe, plays a crucial role in socio-economic development in terms of job creation, foreign exchange earnings and investment attraction.
"Today, on the occasion of International Tourism Day on the theme of "Rethinking Tourism", I remind you all that this sector is the top priority of government which is committed to improve infrastructure and making all efforts to promote tourism in the country. In this tough time when Pakistan is facing worst natural catastrophe, we need to make collective efforts to support our people and take them out of this situation," he added.
Managing Director PTDC, Aftab Ur Rehman Rana said, World Tourism Day always provides a good opportunity to come together and celebrate the achievements of this sector. "It is also time to reflect and think carefully what we did good and what we did bad. There are always prospects to learn good lessons from our mistakes," he stressed.
As the world has opened up again after the pandemic of Covid-19, Rana said, "we need to rethink that how we need to move forward in the changing world where threats of climate change and global warming have made us more vulnerable to face unexpected challenges of natural and man-made disasters."
He further emphasised that stakeholders in tourism industry need to be prepared to confront the challenges and rethink on new dimensions of tourism not only for profit but inclusive growth for long-term benefit of citizens.
Published in The Express Tribune, September 27th, 2022.
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