Pakistan Focusing to Reform its Tourism Industry
After Pakistan planned to reform its tourism industry, it can already see changes. The government recently announced that it will allow citizens of 24 countries to enter Pakistan on a visa-on-arrival basis. These 24 countries include Singapore, South Korea, the United States, and France. According to the government, visa-on-arrival is a huge incentive for international tourists to visit a country.
Ever since 2013, international tourists have tripled reaching a total of 1.75 million in 2016. Out of this, around 30 to 38 percent are domestic tourists. In 2016, the Pakistan tourism sector contributed a total of $19.4 billion to the country’s economy. The board expects to increase it to $36.1 billion. Yahya Polani, former chairman of the Travel Agents Association of Pakistan, said that visa-on-arrival is a small step towards improving some serious aspects of the tourism industry. He said that the next step is to change the people’s mindset. Things aren’t as bad as they read in the newspapers. And sadly, the government never worked towards improving the image.
In an ideal situation, one out of every four visitors should be international tourists. Currently, there is a high number of expats returning or people who work in the Middle East and come to Pakistan for the holidays.
Majorly, Pakistan has two types of tourists. One comes to visit the northern mountains, and other is the religious group. It has the historic Gurdwara in Nankana Sahib, where Sikhs come to offer their prayers. Pakistan is also the home to Gandhara kingdom, now known as the southern Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, which is a religious Buddhist site.
Foreign tourists from Europe, Canada, and the US visit for trekking as Pakistan has five out of the 12 highest mountains in the world. A single trip to K2 Mountain costs $70,000, so promoting it is necessary.
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