World Tourism Day goes uncelebrated

No activities organised to celebrate World Tourism Day in view of the recent floods and security situation.

Express September 28, 2010

LAHORE: The World Tourism Day, themed ‘tourism and biodiversity’, went unnoticed and uncelebrated in the city on Monday.

No activities, in connection with the day, were organised by the Tourism Development Corporation of Punjab (TDCP).

Parliamentary secretary for Tourism Rana Muhammad Arshad confirmed to The Express Tribune that in view of the recent floods and the security situation, no activities had been planned for the day.

A TDCP official told The Express Tribune that the government had instructed the corporation to mark the day with ‘simplicity and austerity’. “We had planned a walk, but that, too, had to be shelved due to the security concerns and the floods,” he said.

World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) director Hammad Nakai, however, believed that the day could have been celebrated without spending a lot of money. He said that the objective of this year’s World Tourism Day was to promote eco-tourism and to highlight the importance of places with biodiversity.

“In urban areas we have to sensitise the tourists about taking care of the environment.” He said that the tourists had to be made aware of the environmental issues and concerns.

“Kalar Kahar is one such example where the lake is getting affected by the sewage. If sewer water continues to pollute it, the migrating birds won’t come to the lake in the future,” he said.

He said that the WWF had been trying to negotiate with the TDCP officials. They acknowledged that eco-tourism was very important, but did not take any concrete steps to promote it, he added.

Tourism Secretary Amir Khawaja is in Italy, despite the Punjab government’s instructions against foreign tours. He was not available for comments.

The World Tourism Day was first celebrated on September 27, 1980 by the United Nations World Tourism Organisation (WNWTO). It has become an annual event since then.

This year’s theme was to protect the planet’s biodiversity for the wealth, health and well-being of the people throughout the world.

Published in The Express Tribune, September 28th, 2010

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