WRITTEN BY CH. FAISAL MAHMOOD
There was a time not too long ago when it was unbecoming of a diplomat to even mention matters of commerce in his host country; now diplomacy and diplomats are promoting their countries’ tourism, culture & commerce – and very rightly so. Particularly tourism of their counties, last week two important event were organized in the city by the Consul Generals of two friendly country. The events were true reflection of their Culture, food, traditions and projected both the countries as best tourism destinations.
Our readers would have noted the promotional activities, which our guest diplomats engage in – presenting their products and cultures etcetera – thus creating positive images of their countries and generating bilateral trades and investments.
In our twenty-first century world, visibility is the base for promotion – be it destination promotion or product promotion. As things keep improving in our tourism industry, howsoever slowly, we have been looking forward to our diplomatic missions abroad to take up the promotion of our cultural assets and products in their host countries. These expectations have been the more pronounced in view of the present government’s profile of being business-friendly.
We are glad to know that Embassy of Pakistan Lisbon, has established a tourist & business visa facilitation centre within the embassy’s premises. The Centre was inaugurated last week, which is Pakistan’s first in the Portuguese capital. We are sure that Pakistani embassies in other countries will also take the initiative of visa facilitation which is most imperative for the tourism promotion of Pakistan.
Such facilities allow tourist and business visa applications to be dealt expeditiously and also assist applicants with the opportunities of investments and tourism in Pakistan.
We suggest the new federal government should open more trade missions abroad, whose mandate clearly is to ‘promote exports and to secure market access for Pakistani commodities and services’ – its soft image and tourist products not excluded!
We feel that establishing trade missions abroad is an essential long term investment which should not be suffered to short term approaches. In fact, those assigned to these missions – assuming that they are selected correctly – should be given time to find and establish their way in the local environment of who is good for what, to be effective there for Pakistan.
As our tourism industry is picking up, we urge the government to look into the current work culture in international marketing and review its policy towards trade missions. We suggest government to some tourism experts as honorary consuls in strategic and semi strategic cities abroad. Here we are reminded of such appointments made abroad by Pakistan Tourism Development Corporation in its days of usefulness to destination promotion of Pakistan. .¡