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December 12, 2020

‘Country witnessing unprecedented tourism boost’


December 12, 2020

ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan Friday said that tourism had exploded in Pakistan, as there was so much tourism presently which was not witnessed in the country’s history.

The prime minister emphasised that environmental protection of tourist destinations must be ensured, and noted that ecotourism had become a science. He was addressing the launching ceremony of Ecotourism: Travel Responsibility for Experiencing Eco Tourism (TREK).

Referring to Switzerland, he said that this country earns annually $80 billion only from skiing during winter season, while Pakistan’s total exports stood at $25 billion. He contended that there was so much potential in skiing in Pakistan, which hitherto remained undiscovered.

Imran Khan said that in order to promote tourism in the country “we have to ensure environmental protection of tourist destinations”. “Tourism has more potential than any other sector, but the least benefit availed from is this sector,” he pointed out.

The prime minister said that unfortunately Pakistan’s old tourist destinations like Naran, Murree and Nathiagali have suffered a lot due to irregular tourism. He laid emphasis on the fact that there should be no concrete jungle, which Murree had become and Galiyat was also experiencing construction of buildings. “I read in a British Gazetteer that in 1890 wrote that the population here in Murree was growing too much and the area would not be able to sustain that population,” he said.

The prime minister noted that Kumrat and other beautiful tourist sites had survived and it was very important that when there was development work in these regions, environmental laws should be made, there should be an orderly environment and no large buildings should be built.

Citing the example of Kenya’s national resorts and Maldives, Imran Khan said that these areas would survive when no permanent buildings would be built there, creating a place so that they would not become a concrete jungle like Murree or Galiyat.

The prime minister said that wherever a tourist resort was opened, there should be a model so that the locals can benefit from it as they will not allow the rivers to get polluted, they will know that the cleaner the area, the more tourists will come.

Imran Khan pointed out that mobile phone has also played an important role in promotion of tourism. “If people go and take pictures and post them on social media, the government do not need to advertise for promotion of tourism,” he said.

Meanwhile, Imran Khan emphasised that citizens of all religions living in Pakistan have equal rights.

The prime minister said this while talking to Special Representative for Religious Harmony Maulana Tahir Mahmood Ashrafi, who called on him.

The prime minister said the real service of Islam is to highlight Islamophobia and the sensitivity of protecting sanctity of the Holy Prophet (PBUH) at the global level. Discussion was held also on ways and means for protection from coronavirus through Ulema and Mashaikh.

Meanwhile, Punjab Governor Chaudhry Muhammad Sarwar called on Prime Minister Imran Khan here.

During the meeting, detailed discussions were held on reforms for improvement of cotton crop. Though, there was no word from the Prime Minister Office, it is understood that the prevailing political scene with particular reference to PDM’s ongoing anti-government campaign and rally on December 13 in Lahore, also came under discussion.

Informing the prime minister about the reforms regarding the cotton crop, Chaudhry Sarwar said that a comprehensive strategy has been formulated while taking all the stakeholders into confidence.

The prime minister shared more good news, through a tweet, for Pakistan’s economy as workers’ remittances continued to grow in November - remaining above $2 billion for a record 6th consecutive month. “Acc(ording) to SBP, they rose to $2.34 billion, up 2.4 percent over the previous month and 28.4 percent over November 2019,” the premier said.