WRITTEN BY CH. FAISAL MAHMOOD
Though slowly but steadily our Tourism Industry is moving into a positive mode and we can see its pace is accelerating; accelerating to a very encouraging level. As per the encouraging report of WTTC, the travel trade and its allied industry contributed Rs930.9 billion in Pakistan’s gross domestic product (GDP) in 2017 and has forecasted increase in it and contribution to jump from 2.9 to 5.9 per cent to Rs986 billion in 2018.
The interestingly, the report says that domestic travel spending generated 93.2per cent of direct travel and tourism GDP in 2017 compared with 6.8per cent for visitor exports that is foreign visitor spending or international tourism receipts.
We have been informing the all stakeholders of travel trade industry to be more focused on domestic tourism, as strong domestic tourism is pre –requisite to attract international tourists.
We pray Almighty Allah that the unfolding future will not prove us wrong, we share this perception with other stakeholders in Pakistan Tourism, so that they and their respective trade bodies may pick up the positive elements and re-activate their promotional tools within the country and abroad.
Our perception is based on the understanding that the many tourism oriented events have taken place in the different parts of Pakistan and and many are going to take place in near future. The good thing that all events event end up with thumping success. We know that such meet events are catalysts which activate positive dynamics of the Tourism Industry; we see recent meet events in Pakistan in this context.
To mention only a few, Like Karachi festival and Lahore literature festival, both were a thumping success despite there were some uncertainty about the Lahore event. The Faiz Festival and the khayal festival both attracted the Urdu poetry lovers in big numbers.
13thcholistan jeep rally in Punjab and Grand Turkish food festival, Sri Lakan food Festival, PTM and above all PSL. We concede that some of these and other such events, may be Destination Marketing responses to Pakistan’s emergence as an outbound supply market; but such promotional events, physically and materially held within Pakistan, do imply the organizer countries’ primary faith in our country’s resilience and its high economic potential – which, indeed, the world has seen, off and on in the last six decades.
Those who came to grace these events, the international cricket players, all saw the reality of Pakistan’s ‘security situation’ is very much improved.
Still we continuously voicing the absence of a national tourism administration, a vacuum which has added to the drift let loose upon us. Removal of the vacuum will release pent up energies from the federal to the provincial and from the provincial to the federal and from the federal to the international to renew Pakistan’s voice as the Surprising Destination that it is.