The Visitor Economy
WRITTEN BY CH. FAISAL MEHMOOD
Today Tourism has become the most vibrant and fast growing industry worldwide. It is continuously developing faster and deeper since the turn of the present century. Not only have the very concept of Tourist Products acquired new meanings, the various sectors serving those products have also acquired different profiles and different dynamics. Historical and archaeological products, which previously sufficed for marketing of destinations, are now considered ‘static products’; rendering them unsalable, except with activities contrived around them. The current ‘in thing’ for attracting tourists is what experts call ‘Contrived Products’.
Changes in the transportation sector have been the more visible and more influential. From being a ‘developing’ country’s answer to earning foreign exchange and delivering income to poorer communities, Tourism has become the Visitor Economy even to highly developed countries, as we keep on repeating in our pages.
The Marketing approaches to promoting Destinations and Products have also changed. Tourist supply markets and civil aviation hubs have changed locations not from one country to the other but from one continent to the other. Grouping of countries have become regional compulsions and the means to socio-economic fulfillment.
Yet, though much talked-about, Globalisation remains to be perceived as the reality that it has actually become. And where is Pakistan in all this? Isolated. Bypassed.
Let us tell that in spite of all odds France retained its crown as the world’s favourite tourist destination, nearly seven million more than nearest rivals Spain, which leapfrogged the USA into second place.
And why? Because our politicians in office are devoid of know how – forget vision – and, armed with singular haughtiness, disdain even available opportunities to learn. Last week TC KPK told that renovation and reconstruction work on Malma Jabba will be completely soon, that’s what they said in 2016 when they repaired chairlifts there.
In much shorter time Dubai completed the world’s largest theme Park, today giant cruise ship are floating apparently on frozen arctic ocean, China inaugurated the world’s highest and longest glass bridge but we here in Pakistan hardly complete any project in less than five years. All compression are stunning for us to know that how far behind we are in the field of tourism. Fact of the matter is that we have to take some extra ordinary steps to bring our tourism at par with the world.
The problem, we repeat, is with our politicians not knowing the economic social and diplomatic values of Tourism. They continue to swear by the ‘18th Amendment’ which removed any federal dispensation for Tourism and our Planning Commission, which should be thinking out of the box with vision, has no Tourism section.