World Tourism Day 2020 | Message By | Sardar Rafiq Khan Group Chairman Bukhari

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To create the global awareness about the importance of the world’s fastest growing industry, tourism and its longer lasting impacts on the society in various filed, the world tourism day is celebrated every year on September 27, we do here in Pakistan also celebrate the day. This year, the Day’s theme is “Tourism and Rural Development”.

Unlike previous years, this year World Tourism Day is being celebrated in a very difficult circumstance due to crippling impact of Covid-19 on tourism industry worldwide.

According to latest report, the massive drop in travel demand over the first half of 2020 translated into a loss of 440 million international arrivals and about $460 billion in export revenues from international tourism.

 International tourist arrivals plunged 93% in June when compared to 2019, with the latest data from the World Tourism Organization showing the severe impact Covid-19 has had on the sector.

However, being a very resilient industry, I hope the tourism industry will start improving slowly but gradually as many touristdestinations have started to open up partially or fully again to international tourists in different part of world. But still every government is extra cautious, after all life is for more important than any adventure or entertainment.

This year, the Day’s theme, “Tourism and Rural Development” is very relevant to Pakistan.Pakistan’s rural areas though not fully develop but our rural areas have magical beauty and world’s best tourism magnets.

After the improvement in security situation, in last couple of years has seen a growth in active countryside domestic tourism as increasingly urban populations seek relaxation and leisure in rural areas. Ranging from traditional countryside pursuits, such as walking, horse riding, and bird watching, to the increasingly popular ‘adventure sports’ mountaineering and snowboarding.

No doubt our rural regions offer the required natural resources and quiet, picturesque settings necessary to enable our urban tourists to experience rurality and, frequently, controlled risk and excitement as an alternative to the perceived pressures and constraints of urban life.

Increased domestic tourism may offer rural regions new opportunities for development and regeneration. However, the possibilities of rural tourism to promote rural regeneration have been criticised for being over-stated and unrealistic. Rural tourism has frequently been found to under-deliver in terms of expected economic benefits and job creation, and may exacerbate social and economic inequalities, and rural communities often lack the skills and experience required to successfully attract and satisfy tourists argue that rural tourism is not “a magic panacea” for overcoming the complex and deep-rooted problems facing rural regions of Pakistan, however it may provide one avenue, amongst others, for rural growth and redevelopment.

Tourism has been seen as a key mechanism for revitalising rural communities and has been supported by local and national governmentsacross the world, including even in western countries. There are examples of cases where rural tourism development has directly benefited local communities economically and socially, such as through

helping to preserve regional identity and local traditions and keeping young people in rural regions. Here in Pakistan rural tourism development has often been limited by poor planning, lack of infrastructure and inward investment, and corruption.

While tourism development can bring positive social and economic benefits to rural communities careful planning and community involvementare essential at all stages that must be understood by all tourism stakeholders particularly the government.

Lastly I must say thank you Holiday weekly for keeping the tourism flag highly in such unfavorable circumstance and bringing out its publication every week including this Special report on World Tourism Day 2020.

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