ISLAMABAD (APP); Aug 7, 2016: More than one million tourists, locals and foreigners, visited the northern areas during the current season, said Pakistan Tourism Development Corporation (PTDC) Policy and Promotion Manager Mukhtar Ali.
“The growth in tourists visiting these areas increased by 25% as compared to last year due to measures taken by the government to improve law and order situation in those areas,” Ali said.
He said that it was a good sign that people are visiting tourists’ points without security especially Naran, Ayubia, Swat, Gilgit and Skardu.
Pakistan has great potential for adventure tourism, said Ali, adding that the country has the world’s highest mountains that are a great attraction.
He said that the country has the distinction of having five peaks above 8,000 meters each, including the second loftiest mountain, K-2.
Pakistan also has the largest glaciers on the globe outside the polar region, which offers tremendous attraction for adventurers.
An official of PTDC told APP there are numerous types of tourism Pakistan offers that include nature, adventure, culture, heritage and religious tourism.
He said that Pakistan is the cradle of two ancient civilizations- the Indus valley civilization and the Gandhara civilization.
“In particular, the excavations of the Gandhara civilization represent one of the oldest remains of the Buddhist culture in Asia and are special spiritual significance for the Buddhists. Then there are monuments built by successive dynasties and rulers, particularly the Mughals. These include the Royal fort, Badshahi Mosque, Shalimar Garden, Tombs of Emperor Jehangir and Noor Jehan, Rohtas Fort and the Shah Jahan Mosque,” he said.
As an initiative to promote tourism industry and engage youth of Pakistan, PTDC in collaboration with University of Management and Technology Lahore has launched “Pakistan Tourism Friends Club”.
The members of the club can avail 20 perecnt special discount on room rent at all PTDC Motels spread all over Pakistan.
Responding to a question, the manager said the PTDC has a chain of 39 motels and three restaurants, which are providing the best facilities to tourists. “We are providing international level boarding and lodging facilities,” Ali added.
The manager revealed that PTDC planned to further streamline facilities for tourists in various destinations and was in consultations with provinces to devise a joint strategy to improve the sector.
Pakistan Today reports: A source told Pakistan Today requesting anonymity that after the 18th Amendment, PTDC is under the control of provincial governments. PTDC does not have sufficient funds to represent itself in international tourism festivals to show the world that the country offers world class facilities on very competitive prices. And like other countries tourism departments advertise tourist attraction places on international channels but PTDC does not have enough funds to present Pakistan’s tourist attraction places on international media neither on national media.
He further added that Punjab, KP and Gigit-Baltistan have been taking appropriate steps while Sindh and Balochistan have failed badly to take initiatives to promote tourism.