‘Sindh can become beacon of eco-friendly tourism’

By Our Correspondent
September 28, 2023

Caretaker Sindh chief minister Justice (retd) Maqbool Baqar said on Wednesday that all stakeholders, including the private sector, the civil society and citizens, should join hands in the journey towards sustainable tourism.

“Together we can make Sindh a beacon of eco-friendly tourism, setting an example for the world,” said Baqar speaking at an event the Sindh Tourism Development Corporation had organised at the Mohatta Palace Museum in Karachi in connection with World Tourism Day.

Referring to the theme of the event, ‘Tourism and Green Investment’, he said it resonates deeply in Sindh, “as we strive to create a sustainable and environmentally conscious tourism industry. We should celebrate the immense potential of tourism and the vital role it plays in our global economy”.

He also said tourism has always been a powerful driver of economic growth, fostering job creation, cultural exchange and regional development. “Sindh, with its rich cultural heritage, historical sites and stunning natural landscapes, is poised to be a prime destination for tourists. However, the true potential of tourism lies not only in economic benefits but also in its capacity to promote sustainable practices and protect our environment.”

Baqar said the global tourism industry faced unprecedented challenges after the Covid-19 pandemic and due to the impact of climate change, “forcing us to reevaluate our approach to tourism and embrace a sustainable, green future”.

He said the Sindh government is committed to leading this transformation, and highlighted some key initiatives and investments aimed at making the tourism sector more environment-friendly.

He also said his government would invest in the development of eco-friendly tourism destinations across the province. “These destinations will prioritise conservation, low-impact infrastructure and community involvement. Our goal is to ensure that our natural beauty remains preserved for generations to come.”

Talking about renewable energy, Baqar said Sindh is blessed with abundant wind and solar energy resources. “We’re actively promoting green investments in renewable energy to power our tourism infrastructure sustainably,” he said, adding that this would reduce our carbon footprint and create jobs in the clean energy sector.

The interim CM said that proper waste management is crucial for preserving the environment. “We will implement waste reduction and recycling programmes in popular tourist areas, ensuring that our landscapes remain pristine.”

He said the government is committed to improving the public transport system, including electric and hybrid buses, to reduce emissions from tourist vehicles and promote eco-friendly travel options. He also said our cultural heritage has a significant pull for tourists, adding that his government would invest in the restoration and preservation of historical sites and landmarks using eco-friendly methods and materials.

Baqar said local communities play a pivotal role in sustainable tourism, for which the provincial government is working closely with them to ensure that they benefit from tourism while actively participating in its eco-friendly practices.

The caretaker CM said the provincial government would launch campaigns to educate both tourists and locals about the importance of responsible tourism.

“As we move forward, it’s essential to remember that green investments in tourism aren’t just a responsibility but also an opportunity. They can drive economic growth, create jobs and, most importantly, safeguard our environment for future generations,” he said, adding that Sindh is committed to being at the forefront of this transformation.

He appreciated the initiatives already taken by the minister for tourism, environment and climate change for the development and promotion of tourism in the province, and assured him of support for further improvement of the development of tourism infrastructure.

Sindh Governor Kamran Tessori on the occasion emphasised that tourism directly impacts social, cultural and economic conditions. Tourism serves as a means to provide employment, increase revenue and spread happiness at global level, he added.

Citing a survey, he said that by 2025 tourism is expected to contribute 10.5 per cent to the overall global GDP and 9.4 per cent to employment. He highlighted that tourism is a significant contributor to the economic development of any country.

He also pointed out that tourism’s foreign currency acquisition is crucial for creating job opportunities, boosting small businesses, promoting regional development and enhancing cultural growth. He said that in progressive nations, tourism is the second-largest industry in terms of employment. He termed Pakistan a paradise for tourists due to its rich cultural and historical heritage.