ISLAMABAD: A study commissioned by the World Bank has identified 23 selected tourist sites across the province of Punjab to delineate the engagement of youth and women in the tourism sector who remain under-represented in most economic activities and policy thinking.
The World Bank has been engaged by the Punjab government to provide technical and financial assistance in catalysing tourism’s growth multiplier in the province. This support has been launched through the bank-assisted Punjab Tourism for Economic Growth project.
The identified sites were: Derawar Fort (Bahawalpur), shrine of Hazrat Syed Ahmed Sultan Sakhi Sarwar (Dera Ghazi Khan), Fort Munro (D.G. Khan), tombs of Shah Rukne Alam, Shah Shams and Mai Maharban (Multan), Harappa (Sahiwal), shrine of Hazrat Baba Haji Sher Chawli Mashaikh (Vehari), shrine (darbar) of Sakhi Saidan Shah Shirazi (ChoaSaidan Shah, Chakwal), Rohtas Fort (Jhelum), MazarSakhi Sultan Bahu (Jhang), NurJahan’s tomb (Lahore), Kalabagh (Mianwali), SadiqGarh Palace (Bahawalpur), Cholistan Desert (Bahawalpur), Khanpur dam (Haripur), Jallo Park (Lahore), shrine of Hazrat Makhdum Jahaniyan Jahangasht (Bahawalpur), Hiran Minar (Sheikhupura), Lal Suhanra National Park (Bahawalpur), Khabeki Lake (Khushab), Thal Desert, and Raja Man Singh’s Haveli (Jhelum).
Most tourist businesses around the 23 selected sites appear to be insufficient. While they experience increased revenues around seasonal high flows, their profitability declines as revenues increase. The findings show that the businesses were either operating with operational inefficiencies or imbalanced cost structures that depress potentially profitability. The businesses could benefit immensely through technical support that helped them revamp operations such that the revenue-cost dynamic attains better balance, the study emphasised.
World Bank study finds operational inefficiencies, imbalanced cost structures and lack of women’s participation in the sector.
The study focused on the economic impacts generated by these businesses for youth and women, and on aggregate level, the limited operational scale of these businesses restricts total employment generated by the business. Young male workers do tend to find employment in tourism businesses around the 23 selected sites, and on average, these businesses employ at least one male worker below the age of 25 years.
However, women remain completely locked out from the operations and economic footprint generated by these businesses. Only two businesses in the listing directory reported employing women, while no women owners were running businesses around the 23 sites.