WRITTEN BY CH. FAISAL MAHMOOD
After election 2018, the federal and provincial governments are formed and are working as per their programmes. In democracy heads are counted not minds, but in present election results, we are expecting some good minds to be focused on tourism sector also.
We expect the new set up; particularly Mr. Khan would recognize Tourism for its economic social and diplomatic values and correct the wrongs done by the absence of a federal tourism administration.
The high level Task Force had been constituted by the Prime Minister to suggest ways and means to develop tourism and to remove bottlenecks in the way of tourism promotion and develop.
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 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.¡