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February 21, 2018

Punjab Tourism for Economic Growth Project launched

National

February 21, 2018

LAHORE: Punjab Planning & Development Department launched "Punjab Tourism for Economic Growth Project" in a ceremony held at the newly-restored Wazir Khan Mosque courtyard in the Walled City of Lahore.

The launch ceremony marked the Planning & Development Department's five-year (2017-2022) collaboration with the World Bank Group to develop Punjab's tourism sector and subsequently increase overall economic growth. "With a total cost of USD 55 million, the project will support infrastructural development of eight sites selected on the basis of their heritage value, historical significance and tourism potential.

These include the Taxila Museum, Katas Raj Temples, Uch Sharif, Gurdwara Rori Sahib, Gurdwara Sacha Sauda, Darbar Sahib, Janam Asthan and Ghulam Farid, mentioned by Ms Sehyr Anis, Deputy Project Director, during the ceremony. 'The project aims to promote tourism sector by strengthening institutional capacity through better skills development; increasing private sector participation; and improving infrastructure services in Punjab', said Muhammad Jehanzeb Khan, Chairman P&D Board Punjab. He highlighted that under the domain of the project, a tourism policy of Punjab has been developed that will represent the government's commitment to developing the tourism sector of the province along with setting the future direction for tourism and related activities.

During the ceremony, a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the Punjab government and United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) was also signed by Ms Vibeke Jenson, Country Director, UNESCO and Iftikhar Ali Sahoo, Secretary P&D Punjab, whereby UNESCO pledged to partner with Planning Department Punjab and provide technical assistance in the preparation of holistic frameworks for protection and management of selected sites along with enhancement of its technical capacity and engagement with communities to safeguard and conserve Punjab's heritage sites.

The chief guest Malik Nadeem Kamran, Minister for Planning &Development, reiterated the government's commitment to strategically reform the tourism sector of Punjab”. He acknowledged the World Bank and UNESCO's role in supporting the Punjab government to provide 'state-of-the-art tourism services across the province, while also mobilising private investment in the tourism sector, specifically targeting heritage tourism in order to restore a tolerant, diverse and pluralistic image of the country to the world.