WRITTEN BY CH. Faisal Mehmood
As we mentioned earlier also that the present government as per the expectation moving step by step towards better tourism policies, procedures and planning. The PM from day first recognized the importance of growing NationalTourism for the weak economy of Pakistan.
The reopening of Pakistan airspace for civilian traffic after six months has come a relief for both Pakistani and Indian aviation industry and of course for the passengers. The removal of airspace restrictions has been welcomed by the tourism and airline industry of the world as these twosector were the major sufferer of these restrictions.
The Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) suffered a loss of Rs8.5 billion because of airspace restrictions since February in the wake of Indian aggression. On the other hand Indian carriers together lost over Rs. 550 crore due to the restrictions that had resulted in longer flight times and higher fuel burns. A chunk of this was for flag carrier Air India, which lost Rs 491 crore till July 2. Even United Airlines and Air Canada had suspended direct flights to India due to these restrictions.
All these harmed the regional tourism and aviation sector. Holiday weekly welcomes this one more good decision by the government of Pakistan and hope Indian would learn a lesson from this blender committed by Modi government.
Earlier the creation of the high level Task Force and formation of a 25-member National Tourism Coordination Board (NTCB) having representatives from federal ministries, provincial departments and people from the private sector tourism industry are all positive steps towards right direction.
Last week the KP government has inaugurated the first-ever mobile App and tourism logo to facilitate domestic and foreign tourists during their visit to scenic places of the province. We appreciate and admit they way KP government working hard for the promotion tourism in the province.
Tourism, a borderless phenomenon is on the rise world wild. In 2018 there were record 1.4bn international tourist arrivals. It does mean tourism is playing an increasingly important role in the global economy. In 2018, it was worth about $1.7tn or about 2% of total global GDP. Even the UNWTO is struggling to keep up, with current figures vastly exceeding expectations. In 1950 there were 25m international tourist visits, rising to 166m in 1970, and 435m in 1990.
The tourists through this new mobile App can get data regarding tour operators, hotels, restaurants booking, trekking and backpacking spots, tourist resorts, lakes, weather condition, archaeological, adventure, religious and cultural tourism sites and contact numbers of all tourism relevant departments. The App is completely free and users-friendly with a number specification.
All this is very encouraging for us and for our tourism industry which has suffered unabated external problems in last 40 years. There are several things that still 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 the existing tourism development corporations in the provinces should be elevated into provincial Tourism Boards with full autonomous and proactive functioning.