Lt. Col. [R] Akbar A. Shareef Chairman | PATA Pakistan Chapter

The United Nations General Assembly has proclaimed 2017 the International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development. Opportunely, the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) has followed in the same vein by choosing “Sustainable Tourism: a tool for development” as the theme for this year’s Day.

PATA Pakistan Chapter is observing the World Tourism Day this year again with its usual commitment and expectations in these hard times that continue to thwart our inbound tourism.

However, International destinations welcomed 598 million international tourists in the first six months of 2017, some 36 million more than in the same period of 2016. At six per cent, growth was well above the trend of recent years, making the current January-June period the strongest half-year since 2010.

We remain committed to Tourism and to the World Tourism Organization because we have as much faith in our tourism potential as in the economic dynamics of tourism itself. Our members are united in the belief that with the sharp expansion recently in our Domestic Tourism, our products and services have kept developing well enough for inbound tourists to avail as soon as the external negatives are removed from the scene.

The international tourism industries also have challenges, this time challenges are not for the promotion of tourism but for sustainable tourism as the voices are being heard from Spain, Italy and from other European countries against the overtourism and many industry leaders taking a stand against overtourism.

Reacting to the new development situation of overtourism, that was very historic moment when in Chengdu-Chian, the 22nd UNWTO General Assembly approved the historic document ‘The UNWTO Framework Convention on Tourism Ethics’, the first in the life of the organization. The convention covers the responsibilities of all stakeholders in the development sustainable tourism, providing a framework that recommends an ethical and sustainable tourism for all, including the right to tourism, the freedom of movement for tourists and the rights of employees and professionals.

Let us we all, therefore, close ranks and keep working on sustainable tourism, more for our  domestic tourism to sustain our tourism industry until it re-emerges as is its due.

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