WRITTEN BY CH FAISAL MAHMOOD
As we keep on telling our readers not to be daunted by the difficulties in travelling & tourism and the difficulties being faced by the Tourism stakeholders. Our tourism is improving slowly and gradually and light at the end of the tunnel is becoming clearer and prominent.
Among many others, one positive factor is the international recognition of our growing tourism activities. The latest report of World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC), released last week said that the travel and tourism sector contributed Rs930.9 billion, that is 2.9 per cent of Pakistan’s gross domestic product (GDP), in 2017 and the direct contribution of travel and tourism in Pakistan is forecast to rise by 5.9 per cent to Rs 986 billion in 2018.
The contribution primarily reflects the economic activity generated by industries such as hotels, travel agents, airlines and other passenger transportation services.
The most encouraging factor for us in the report is that report says that domestic travel spending generated 93.2per cent of direct travel and tourism GDP in 2017 compared with 6.8per cent for visitor exports that is foreign visitor spending or international tourism receipts. Domestic travel spending is expected to grow by 6.1per cent in 2018 to Rs1, 445.9 billion, and rise by 5.9per cent per annum to Rs2,564.3 billion in 2028.
It is good for our tourism to be strong domestic front, both infrastructure wise and traveling wise. Once we have reasonably good tourism infrastructure at home it will be easier to market internationally Pakistan as a very attractive tourism destination.
However, in the Absence of a federal fiat for national co-ordination and inter-provincial cohesion has created a lot of problems for our tourism sector. Though there is still much to be said about Devolution and how it has been handled. Like the debate previously whether private sector or the public sector was efficient, we have been telling time and again; And we are telling again that it is not the question now whether devolution is good or bad; it is always the management quality and vision of the man at the helm that makes the difference.
Monopoly breeds inefficiency and we hope that the next Parliament will give each provincial tourism administration a federal partnership and a co-ordinated national posture at all international tourism forums. £