WRITTEN BY CH. FAISAL MAHMOOD
It is very satisfying that the new government really tourism focused and doing things priority wise. Pushing tourism forward without a comprehensive tourism policy formed by the thorough input of all major stakeholders & tourism intellectuals is impossible. As the news are coming that the Ministry for Inter Provincial Coordination (IPC) has invited all the provinces including Gilgit-baltistan to send their valuable suggestions, recommendations, ideas and proposals to form new tourism policy. We hope un like our Aviation policy, our new tourism policy will beneficial for tourism industry
Our hopes are high that Khan would recognize Tourism for its economic social and diplomatic values and correct the wrongs done by the absence of a federal tourism administration.
We remember very vividly his practical support that he has always given to development of Responsible Tourism in KP, right from the time when his party formed the government in KP in 2013.
His being at the helm of affairs is an encouraging factor for our tourism industry which has suffered unabated external problems since the revolutions in Afghanistan and Iran, followed by the aftermath of what is generally referred to as 9/11. These aside, the deepest wound inflicted upon our tourism industry came from within Pakistan – when the unthinking Rabbani Committee removed the Concurrent List altogether from our Constitution. The resultant vacuum has removed Pakistan from the wide and vibrant world of Tourism.
There are several things that need to be done immediately through our National Tourism policy to rescue and re-develop Tourism in our country but, for the present; we are suggesting only one crucial and catalytic step, which is; to have Tourism restored to the federal government as a concurrent responsibility.
This may be done by founding a Pakistan Tourism Authority to function in the Prime Minister’s Secretariat as an autonomous corporation with financial and regulatory responsibilities, functioning as did the Pakistan Industrial Development Corporation in the 1960s. The existing tourism development corporations in the provinces should be elevated into provincial Tourism Boards with similar autonomous and proactive functioning.
We have high hopes and strong believe about the future, for we know that our youth has a much better awareness of Tourism, its economic and social values and also what can actually be done to promote it in his/her country.¡