Islamabad 22nd July: Promoting the tourism industry is one of the top priorities of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government. Prime Minister Imran Khan is right when he says that Pakistan could become one of the top tourist destinations of the world, given its potential.
Unfortunately, previous successive governments have paid little attention to this sector. Another factor that undermined the tourism industry was the precarious security situation Pakistan had to deal with after the 9/11 attacks in the United States.
However, Pakistan has made great strides in recent years in terms of improving the law and order situation — something that prompted foreign tourists to explore the natural beauty of Pakistan. Renowned vloggers now frequently visit Pakistan. This has helped showcase the ‘other Pakistan’ that has long remained in oblivion.
The current government has taken a number of steps to promote tourism. It organised a tourism summit in Islamabad and invited speakers from across the globe to highlight what Pakistan offers in the field of tourism. Many bureaucratic hurdles have been done away with to facilitate foreign tourists.
For example, the government has abolished the requirement of a no-objection certificate (NOC) for foreigners seeking to visit certain parts of Pakistan. Similarly, the visa process has been simplified. Barring a few exceptions, tourists from several countries can now get a visa on arrival.
While all these measures deserve appreciation, there is a long way to go before Pakistan can claim to be an ideal destination — not only for foreign but for local tourists as well. Many changes and reforms may have been introduced to promote the tourism sector, but little work has been done on ground.
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