Industry status

Tourism will get industry status: SAPM – Journal

FAISALABAD: The Special Assistant to the Prime Minister (SAPM) on Tourism, Azam Jamil, said on Sunday that tourism would be given the status of an industry, which would be run by the private sector and the government would play the role of facilitator and regulator.

Addressing a dinner reception given by the Pakistan Economic Conference (PEC) in conjunction with the Faisalabad Chamber of Commerce and Industry (FCCI), he said that the government had finally decided to delegate the Pakistan Tourism Development Corporation (PTDC) to the provinces. He said all hotels, motels and other PTDC assets would be transferred to the provinces on the condition that they hand them over to the private sector within two months.

He said the government was not supposed to manage the companies but to play the role of facilitator. He said 33 to 35 motels have remained closed over the past 10 years because the work was given to uninvolved people. He said that the PTDC would be restructured. A national electronic tourism portal was ready, which would soon be launched by Prime Minister Imran Khan.

He said a one-stop website has been developed which will contain all information related to tourist sites and their managements. The government has identified potential tourist attractions where local and national investors could provide the necessary facilities, he added.

He said a concept of village tourism has been introduced, which will also play a major role in promoting the country’s cultural diversity. This was a project financed by the World Bank, which would attract foreign tourists to visit the picturesque valleys of the northern regions. Similarly, a ski resort would also be developed in Chitral, which would be a unique attraction for domestic and foreign tourists, he added.

Stressing the importance of a road communication system, he said it was very strange that a 300 km stretch of the Silk Road did not have a bathroom, which was a basic requirement and essential for any tourist. The government is working on standardizing hotels in addition to other related services, he added.

He said that qualified professionals were needed to manage the hospitality industry and in this regard, schools were being established in different parts of the country.

Mr. Jamil also made a comprehensive presentation on the potential of tourism in Pakistan with measures taken by the government to engage the private sector.

Provincial Culture and Industries Minister Khayal Ahmad Kastro also spoke on the occasion and said that for the first time in the history of the province, Punjab Culture Day was celebrated on 14 March.

He said that as Colonial Minister he had reclaimed 200,000 acres of state land, encroached upon by land grabbers. The value of the land was around 450 billion rupees, he added.

He paid tribute to Prime Minister Khan for organizing a conference of foreign ministers of Islamic countries and said his strategy had played a pivotal role in reviving the industrial sector in Pakistan.

Faisalabad Deputy Commissioner Ali Shehzad also spoke on the occasion, while former President of the Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FPCCI) Mian Mohammad Idrees and FCCI President Atif Munir Sheikh along with PEC organizer Azhar Chaudhry presented the FCCI shields to Mr. Jamil.

Dressed in their cultural robes, members of the business community and their families from across the country attended the dinner.

A traditional chador was presented to FCCI President Sheikh.

Posted in Dawn, March 21, 2022