OSLO: Pakistan-Norway Tourism Summit was held at the Chancery to highlight the rich tourism potential of Pakistan, trends in Norway’s tourism sector, and to explore and identify various areas of cooperation for strengthening bilateral tourism cooperation. The senior representatives from the federal and provincial governments as well as Gilgit Baltistan gave virtual presentations on the rich and diverse tourism potential and government policies for the promotion of sustainable tourism industry in the country. The event was attended by more than thirty tourism promotion agencies, travel agents, and tour operators from each country. The tour operators and travel agents of both sides gave presentations about their areas of expertise and exchanged views for increasing two-way tourism flow between the countries. Representatives from the Norwegian climbing, hunting, and travelers clubs/associations, media personnel, and members of the Pakistan diaspora also participated and shared their experiences.
The panelists included Aftab-ur-Rehman Rana Managing Director, Pakistan Tourism Development Corporation (PTDC), Mr. Muhammad Asghar Harifal, Secretary Culture, and Tourism Department Baluchistan, Mr. Asadullah Faiz, Secretary Tourism Department Punjab, Mr. Raja Rasheed Ali, Secretary Tourism, Sports, Culture, Archeology, and Museums, Gilgit-Baltistan and Mr. Tashfeen Haider, Additional Secretary Sports, Culture, Tourism, Archeology and Museums, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. The panelists from Norway included Mr. Gunnar Skjolden, representing the Norwegian Escape Travel Tours, Mr. Armughan Jalil, and Mr. Mohammad Inam Qadir from GOFly Travel-Tours as well as Mr. Knut Lande and Ms. Guri Lande, professional travelers from Norway.
Ambassador Babar Amin, in his welcome remarks, thanked the panelists and participants of the event, who were part of the Embassy’s efforts to provide an opportunity to the people in Norway to discover Pakistan’s tourism potential. He said that the real beauty of Pakistan could only be experienced by visiting the country and enjoying its serene landscapes as well as the exemplary warmth and hospitality of the people of Pakistan.
Managing Director PTDC Aftab-ur-Rehman Rana made a detailed presentation on the cultural heritage and tourism potential of Pakistan and the measures being taken to streamline the tourism sector in the country. The government was actively working to upgrade infrastructure and other facilities, especially in key tourism centers in the country.
Mr. Skjolden from Escape Travel-Tours shared his experience of visiting Pakistan and invited tourists from Norway to experience the breathtaking natural beauty and the spellbinding richness of its cultural and archeological treasures.
Mr. Muhammad Asghar Harifal, Secretary of Culture and Tourism Department of Baluchistan gave a presentation about the tourism potential to attract domestic, regional, and international tourists from around the globe. From the oldest world heritage sites of Mehrgarh to mesmerizing natural beauties, from desert to beaches and from hills to dale- all these natural miracles await the tourists with a warming welcome in the province.
Asadullah Faiz, Secretary of Tourism Department Punjab introduced Pakistan’s rich archeological and cultural heritage to the participants and invited them to experience a unique mixture of Mughals, Sikhs, and Colonial architecture.
Raja Rasheed Ali, Secretary of Tourism, Sports, Culture, Archeology and Museums, Gilgit-Baltistan spoke about diverse tourism opportunities for domestic and foreign tourists across the world. He especially highlighted the opportunities for eco-tourism, winter sports, and adventure tourism in the area. A documentary showcasing the tourism potential of GB ranging from mountaineering, trekking, sightseeing, sports tourism, and trophy hunting was also screened on this occasion.
Mr. Tashfeen Haider, Additional Secretary Sports, Culture, Tourism, Archeology & Museums, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa highlighted the heritage and scenic touristic sites all through the province from the mountainous Northern Areas to urban metropolitan cities. He urged the participants to explore Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, a perfect destination for leisure, adventure, religion, and many other kinds of Tourism.
Mr. Mohsin ul Mulk, Chairman Pakistan Association of Travel Operators (PATO) introduced it as the only registered body of credible tour operators in Pakistan. He mentioned that PATO, with a network of registered tour operators, is keen to build closer cooperation with Norwegian counterparts. He called on the participating Pakistani and Norwegian tour operators to work to increase the two-way traffic of tourists.
The event concluded with a Q&A session during which the speakers provided additional details on various aspects of the tourism sector in Pakistan. Photographs of the event are attached. Ministry of Foreign Affairs, IslamabadOffice of the Spokesperson, Mofa PakistanShah Mahmood Qureshi Pakistan Association Of Tour Operators Pakistan Tourism Development Corporation (PTDC).