Pakistan Tourism Summit 2019 – challenges and impact
Tourism is the only industry in the world which attracts every single person from different perspective. Whether its culture, geography, environment, adventure, mountain or natural landscape, etc. All are keen to explore once in life at any destination. On the 2nd and 3rd of April, 2019 Pakistan Tourism Summit was organized in a very professional manner at Jinnah Convention Centre, Islamabad. This Summit was organized by Landmark Communication which has a unique approach towards tourism promotion trying to involve the expert traveler and tour operators from different countries. Where these tools can be used in the country like Pakistan, where tourism has been ignored and perceived it a kind of threat and have stricken the rules for tourist to come in.
What we have seen at large that most of the participants were from the Government i.e. Prime Minister Imran Khan, Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi, Interior Minister Shehryar Afridi, Information Minister Fawad Chaudhary, famous bloggers like Eva Zu Back, Rosie Gaberielle and others who spoke about their experiences during the panel discussion and answered the question from the participants.
President Islamic Republic of Pakistan Dr. Arif Alvi also appreciated the initiatives of the summit and called Pakistan as the land of beauty and hospitality. It will come true when they people at the field will be trained and inculcate the essence of hospitality. The Gilgit-Baltistan can be a model if we use the service as a gimmick to gain the inflow of tourists.
In the summit the points were discussed and planned but one questionable this was that Pakistan has still not yet developed its tourism policy and it is still in the pipeline, will be completed and approved soon. Aftab Rana, who has vast experience in the development and framework of tourism and also wrote some books on Pakistan’s destination and trails to promote tourism has written the policy paper with the help of Amjad Ayoub Ex-President of PATO (Pakistan Association for Tour Operators) and other tourism and hospitality professionals.
Pakistan is one of those countries, where the policy still not exists as a result of which we lose our resources. If we are keen to promote tourism industry then we would have to find out what prerequisites are required to plan the scenic areas which have not yet been explored or in the shape to ruin in the coming years. Short-term, medium-term and long-term policy has to be made with the approval of the experts and professionals with update model to sustain the tourism sector.
Many talks and the bureaucrats who spent their services in the different ministries were talking like firing in the air. Which means they have did nothing for the tourism promotion for the last 7 decades. But sitting Government has at least stepped up to ease the visa policy, abolished NOC and arrival visa for the tourists to come and visit our beautiful country. Such initiatives were never ever taken by the others in the past. And they always claimed that the law and order situation was not favorable; it was a game to play their cards to benefit themselves for power. The result was most of the communities were dragged below the poverty line instead of uplifting them from poverty line.
There are opportunities and destinations (Raw Material) which are needed to promote. The facilities which a tourist required should be provided; the resorts need to develop through well designed as Serena Resorts have developed in Tanzania. Without any harm the natural beauty has been maintained and flourished with qualified designers. As Joe L. Garrigo, President Immersive Planet has said that the national parks, hotels and resorts must be designed with updated technology without interfering the wild species and plants. That required Government support to welcome those companies which are already in the field and have the experiences that how to design these scenic areas for tourists. Immersive design will help the economy, environment and culture.
Now these tools need to be practiced between public-private partnerships. The international hoteliers, tour agencies and other stakeholders must be involved to give the tourism a shape. Otherwise we will not be able to facilitate tourists if we just welcome them without planning that how to serve them and accommodate them.