Ahmed Hassan Moughal, President, Islamabad Chamber of Commerce & Industry has called upon the government to focus on tourism that has great untapped potential to generate business activities, enhance revenue and improve the overall economy. He said this while addressing a meeting of ICCI Tourism Committee.
Ahmed Hassan Moughal said that tourism was one of the fast growing industries in the world with over 10 percent share in the global GDP in 2017 and was becoming an important source of revenue generation. However, Pakistan, despite possessing the most attractive places for tourists, has not been able to capitalize on this sector for generating economic activities. He said that Turkey attracted 37 million foreign tourists in 2017 with Italy 53 million, China 60 million and Spain 75 million, but Pakistan attracted just around 2 million foreign tourists in 2017, which reflected its unsatisfactory performance in this sector.
Ahmed Hassan Moughal said that as per World Tourism and Travel Council, direct contribution of tourism to the GDP of Pakistan was only 2.7 percent, which was not encouraging by any standards. He said tourism was contributing to over 20 percent to GDP of many countries including Turkey and urged that Government of Pakistan should give priority attention to this important sector that has the potential to put the country on the path of sustainable growth.
Muhammad Arshad Mehmood Janjua, Chairman ICCI Tourism Committee said that with the efforts of armed forces and law enforcement agencies, security situation has improved significantly in Pakistan. They stressed that government should announce a new tourism policy that should facilitate the private sector to promote this sector.
The Committee members said that government has taken a positive step by allowing business visa on arrival facility to 66 countries. However, he stressed that government should further streamline visa policy to facilitate foreign tourists. They said lot of work was to be done to improve tourism infrastructure and urged that government should give good incentives to private sector for investing in this sector. They were of the view that by giving better attention to tourism sector, Pakistan could generate lot of revenue to strengthen its economy.