Tourism – an unpleasant dilemma
Tourism is an industry massively impacted by the Covid-19. According to the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), world travel has seen a 74% loss in international tourist arrivals. However, in due course it will return to normal – with many changes from what was previously tracked.
Researchers “insist” that a healthy operational mind requires at least two trips a year. Travel is a huge industry with huge potential and, if done right, can fuel entire economies. Countries like Thailand, Maldives, China, Singapore, United Arab Emirates, and Turkey are prime examples of tourism helping to increase the region’s GDP.
It really makes sense, given the way their tourism industry is set up and the policies surrounding it. How tourism correlates with other industries is also quite fascinating, be it airlines, hotels, amusement parks, infrastructure and development, transportation, entertainment, food and drink etc.
Pakistan happens to be a country endowed with nature, resources and beauty. However, we have not been able to really reap the benefits. There are countless reasons why this has been the case – law and order, lack of infrastructure, corruption hampering progress in government departments, lack of international acceptance and presence and in some unique cases, religious legal systems.
In recent years we’ve been seeing little things that make it obvious that we are making progress as a nation – things like cycle paths on beaches, restoration of cultural heritage sites, marketing of tourist spots like Hunza, Gilgit, Peshawar , people coming out and protesting about the things that matter, influx of international influencers visiting and promoting the true beauty of Pakistan to the world. I would give that to PM Khan. But a proper strategy is still needed to boost this industry and transform it into an income generating sector.
First and foremost is law and order, which has undoubtedly declined over the past 10-15 years, but it must be to a point where people can roam free with zero or little crime. of street. Second, smart infrastructure needs to be developed in terms of mobility within and between cities – smart metros, stations, highways and tolls, etc. This means working alongside the private sector to use their technologies while strategizing and planning long-term sustainable options.
Third, development within cities, adapted to the needs of travelers – commercialization of beaches, adventure sports and the use of old planes for air sports, entertainment activities and tax incentives for investment by foreigners and locals in this industry. This will simultaneously result in startups in the travel and tourism industry, ultimately benefiting Pakistan’s ecosystem.
Redevelop the existing places and convert them into commercial avenues such as Sea View in Karachi, Hawkes Bay, Sandspit into an adventure sports venue with arcades and a safari nearby, salt mines as a tourist attraction, etc.
We also need to work with our airline to develop policies that ensure that flights traveling over our country must have a mandatory stop in the capital or any other city, and encourage hotels to offer them free stays as they do. Emirates and Etihad airlines in the past. It will also have a direct impact on the promotion and export of local specialties from Pakistan to the world. Finally, we could benefit from removing our difference in religion from our state policies or at least from tourism policies at this time.
Switching to adopting a few secular policies can also have a huge impact on the overall economy, as it allows you to tax and regulate the unbanked economy that operates within the state – like alcohol, nicotine, etc.
It will be some time before the global tourism industry returns to normal; rethinking and re-analyzing our strategies could very well provide Pakistan with a stable source of revenue from the sector.
The writer is a freelance journalist and communications professional.
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