ISLAMABAD, Pakistan – To promote Pakistan’s tourism products and create soft image of the country, PTDC participated in UNWTO Conference in World’s largest ITB Berlin Tourism Exhibition, World Islamic Tourism Mart in Malaysia, SAARC Tour Operators Conclave in India and SAARC Travel & Tourism Mart in Bangladesh.
During 2010, Pakistan received 906,818 foreign tourists and earned US$ 306 million from tourism. According to Managing Director of PTDC Mir Shahjahan Khetran, over 200,000 visitors to Pakistan were from South Asia Region, accounting for 22.5% of the total arrivals. He was talking to media at Ayubia on Thursday.
He further said that Pakistan has a variety of products to offer to visitors from the SAARC and rest of the world. Buddhist heritage sites of Gandhara, Sikh sacred shrines, Hindu holy temples, Indus valley civilization sites are best-suited for pilgrims, scholars and students. Cosmopolitan cities of Karachi, Lahore and Rawalpindi / Islamabad offer an attractive mix of culture, heritage, modernity and countless shopping opportunities.
While responding to a question, the Managing Director said that there is a continuous need to introduce Pakistan’s culture and tourism on international level and PTDC is working hard to promote and develop tourism in the far flung remote areas of Pakistan. PTDC promotes tourism in the areas where private sector is shy to invest and provides a platform to public and private sector tourism organizations to represent Pakistan on international and domestic level. We hope that PTDC will continue its efforts to promote tourism in the country in future. Every year, PTDC launches special discounted tour packages for students, groups and families in addition to operating air-conditioned coach service between Rawalpindi and Naran. The bus service to Swat is also planned next summer.
PTDC Motels provide 50% discount during the holy month of Ramadan, Independence Day and World Tourism Day. Discounted tour packages for Murree, Rawalpindi / Islamabad/ Taxila, Lahore, Moenjodaro and Karachi are also arranged during winter season. To create awareness among youth, PTDC holds seminars and conferences in different schools, colleges and universities. Students from Faitma Jinnah Women University have completed their 6-weeks training program in PTDC recently.
On domestic level, PTDC arranges media familiarizations trips to Naran, Ayubia and other places every year. This year, on the occasion of International Mountains Day, Wall Climbing Competition and Plant Sapling Walk was arranged. Ecotourism walk was also held in Fatima Jinnah Park, Islamabad. During the tenure of the current PPP Government, provinces have been empowered in many departments including tourism, resulting increase in domestic tourism throughout the country. Development of Tourism can create national harmony and integrity. There is a need to develop better coordination between public and private sector tourism organizations in order to strengthen national economy. The role of printed and electronic information sources is very important in this regard, and media should promote the tourism industry through their TV channels and newspapers.
Ecotoursim Society Pakistan (ESP) has highly appreciated this development and its president Raza Nadir has congratulated the Pakistan Toursim Development Corporation (PTDC) and its team.