Tourism has great importance for the success of many economies in the World. It has become an important sector that has an impact on the development of countries’economy. It enhances the revenue and creates employment opportunities for the people. Similarly, it develops the infrastructure and creates a sense of cultural exchange between foreigners and citizens. According to the World Travel and Tourism Council, tourism provides 230 million jobs directly or indirectly.
In the last couple of decades, the tourism industry has been in severe crisis in Pakistan due to terrorism and poor law and order situation. Pakistan is a tourist country due to numerous tourist sites in the country. The driverse culture, traditions, historical places and beautiful valleys are a great source of attraction for tourists. Mohenjo-daro and Harappa are the archaeological sites that attract archaeologists from all over the World.
In addition, God has bestowed Pakistan with beautiful valleys such as Naran, Kaghan, Hunza and beautiful hills like Nathia Gali, Changa Gali and Murree etc. Along with beautiful valleys and hills, Pakistan has also cultural rich places. Lahore is considered the cultural heart of Pakistan. Monuments of various Mughal emperors and Mughal architecture such as the Badshahi Mosque, Lahore fort, the tomb of Jahangir and the Shalimar gardens are situated in Lahore.
The province of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa offers a great hospitality along with natural beauty such as valleys and plains. The famous Karakoram highway is also located in this province.
Further, Mausoleum of Quaid-e-Azam in Karachi is also an attractive tourist spot. Islamabad, the capital of Pakistan, is among the most beautiful capitals in the World. In a study by Conde Nast Traveller in the US, Pakistan has been named as the top tourist destination in the World.
The highest Polo Ground in the World is also in Pakistan which attracts thousands of tourists every year. Apart from that, Pakistan has religious sites that are highly attractive for Buddhist and Sikh tourists.
Challenges to Tourism industry in Pakistan
- Poor infrastructure
- Security, terrorism and poor law and order situation
- Lack of international standard resorts
- Ardous process of getting a Pakistani Visa
- Lack of facilities to foreign tourists
According to the World Economic Forum report on Travel and Tourism competitiveness 2019, Pakistan was ranked at 121st, showing the least in the region. The major factors behind this least ranking are terrorism, lack of facilities to foreign tourists and safety and security environment for tourists.
Opportunities for Pakistan in the tourism industry
Pakistan has the opportunity to enhance its revenue by promoting the tourism sector. The impact of tourism on employment in the services sector is huge. Food providers, guides, transporters and tour operators are employed largely due to tourism. Lima, the capital of Peru, earned almost $2 billion in 2019 from toursm industry, while Dubai earned $27.9 billion from tourism sector in the year 2019.
World Tourism and Travel Council has reported that the tourism industry of Pakistan has the potential to grow around $39.8 billion within a decade.
There is a dire need to focus on urban tourism, as it will result in job creation and cultural diversity. In addition, it will increase the number of entrepreneurs in Pakistan, which will ultimately boost the economy.
Ways to promote tourism in Pakistan
- Improvement of Security situation
- Comfortable transportation
- Improvement of infrastructure
- Easy Visa access to tourists
- Launch of advertising compaigns
- Provision of facilities to tourists
- Promotion of religious tourism