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March 2, 2021

Tourism work

Editorial

March 2, 2021

There is hardly any doubt that Pakistan has tremendous potential for tourism. As PM Imran Khan has also highlighted recently, Pakistan can provide a multiplicity of choices for tourists. However, while the country offers a diversity of opportunities to travel – from its sandy beaches to some of the world’s highest mountains; and from the deserts of Cholistan and Thar to the five rivers of Punjab – we must also realize that just having a long coastline is not enough, we need to develop it too. A trip to other countries can convince any visitor easily that what Pakistan offers is more natural beauty than tourism facilities. Water sports is a thriving business in tourism and even most Muslim Majority countries including Indonesia, Turkey, and Egypt offer plenty of it.

Similarly, if we have the world’s tallest mountains, we must also have world-class tour operators fully equipped with the latest technologies. If you look at our heritage sites, they are also in a perpetual need of restoration. And the restoration that we normally do can hardly match the world standards prescribed by Unesco. We have an ancient civilization that can match any other in the world, but the way we manage our ancient sites is not up to international prescriptions. Neither do we have world-class accommodation, educated and informed guides, travel facilities, or even the entertainment that a tourist expects.

What we need is an archeological department that has qualified staff and resources to maintain sites, tourism facilities to attract travelers, and most of all a good reputation in the world as a safe and secure place for tourism. Our youth is facing unemployment and we can tap this potential by training our young people in tourism management. We need to develop courses in archeology, communication skills, decent behavior, efficient guest handling and hotel management. We do not have many colleges or institutes teaching proper food and beverage management. The knowledge of our guides about our own archeological sites is poor, so we need to train our youth in geography and develop them as qualified guides. Without doing all this, we cannot generate employment opportunities for our youth, nor can we attract tourists in considerable numbers.