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September 26, 2020

Speakers discuss tourism challenges in post-COVID-19 era

Islamabad

September 26, 2020

Islamabad : In many countries of the world, tourism is the main source of income and their economies more or less rely on the revenue generated through this industry.

In the recent wave of coronavirus, whereas the tourism industry was adversely affected, economies of these countries also suffered a huge loss. Pakistan being one of the few countries that have overcome coronavirus is now in an ideal position to attract the world to its touristic sights and treasures of historical, natural and cultural places.

Tourism experts, environmentalists, adventurers and youth representatives expressed these views while taking part in a special event organized by the Pakistan Youth Hostel Association (PYHA) at its Islamabad campus on Friday.

The event coincided with the World Tourism Day being celebrated worldwide tomorrow (Sept 27). The speakers while emphasizing the need for tourism revival in the country expressed the joy that the PYHA was back to business and opening its branches countrywide welcoming tourists and adventurers.

In his welcome remarks, Executive Secretary of the PYHA, former Ambassador Qazi Humayun said no doubt, tourism was the first casualty of coronavirus and countries like Italy and Spain witnessed a plunge in their economies with tourism activities coming to zero during the last six months.

Besides decline in revenue, jobs were also lost because of Covid-19 and an estimated 120 million jobs were lost worldwide because of Covid-19, said Ambassador Humayun.

For Pakistan Youth Hostels Association too, tourism sector’s closure was also a setback, said Ambassador Humayn adding PYHA was directly linked with tourism industry. “I am glad our hostels are opening now and we are back to business,” he said.

Ambassador Humayun cautioned the tourists and tourism promotional bodies and organizations to make sure health guidelines and Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) were in place since Covid-19 had declined but was not completely eliminated.

Well known environmentalist and Director of Devcom-Pakistan and DTN Munir Ahmed commended the PYHA for organizing a seminar on the eve of World Tourism Day. In the post-coronavirus world, we need to adopt ‘new normal,’ said Munir Ahmed. He emphasized following health guidelines, SOPs as the virus was not going anywhere.

Javeria Tamim, a poetess and educationist, also called for highlighting Pakistan’s tourism potential. We are not only naturally beautiful but also culturally rich, she said. Research Associate of National Institute of Maritime Affairs (NIMA) Naureen Fatima drew that audience’s attention to maritime tourism which is perhaps the most neglected component of our tourism industry.

Shaaref Munir, a student of Tourism and hospitality business management Ozyegin University Istanbul, shared his experience how Turkey dealt with the pandemic. He said observing and studying of the practices has become crucial after the restaurants and tourists’ spots were made open several months after the Covid-19 spread.