The Special Assistant to the Prime Minister (SAPM) in charge of tourism, Azam Jamil, said on Sunday that tourism would be granted the status of a full-fledged industry, which would be managed by the private sector and that 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 that a one-step website had been developed which would contain all information related to the tourist sites and their managements. “We have identified potential tourist attractions where local and national investors can provide the necessary facilities,” he added. He said that a concept of village tourism has been introduced which will also play a major role in promoting our cultural diversity.
He said it was a World Bank-funded project that would attract foreign tourists to visit the scenic valleys in 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 the 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 of any tourist. . “We are working on standardizing hotels in addition to other related services,” he added.
He said that skilled professionals were needed to manage the hospitality industry and in this regard schools were being established in different parts of the country. He also made a comprehensive presentation on the potential of tourism in Pakistan with the measures taken by the government to involve the private sector.
Provincial Culture and Industries Minister Khayal Ahmad Kastro also addressed the dinner and said that for the first time in the history of the province, Punjab Culture Day was celebrated on March 14. .
He said that as Colonial Minister he reclaimed 200,000 acres of state land, encroached upon by land grabbers. The value of the land was around Rs. 450 billion, he added.
He also paid the highest respects to Prime Minister Imran Khan for organizing the conference of foreign ministers of Islamic countries and said his strategy has played a pivotal role in reviving the industrial sector in Pakistan.
Deputy Commissioner (DC) Faisalabad Ali Shehzad also spoke, while former President of the Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FPCCI) Mian Muhammad Idrees and FCCI President Atif Munir Sheikh as well PEC organizer Azhar Chaudhry presented FCCI shields to Azam Jamil.
Businessmen from all over Pakistan attended the dinner, along with their families wearing their cultural robes. A traditional chador was also presented to FCCI President Atif Munir Sheikh.