Islamabad, Pakistan (CU)_ According to the latest report issued by the World Economic Forum, Pakistan has ascended six places on the International Travel and Tourism Development Index. Pakistan ranked 83rd out of 117 nations on the 2021 edition of the index, “Rebuilding for a Sustainable and Resilient Future”. Accordingly, the previous edition, published in 2019, ranked Pakistan at number 89.
According to Aftabur Rehman Rana, Managing Director of the Pakistan Tourism Development Corporation (PTDC), the country’s improved reputation represents substantial progress. On the tourist index, Japan ranked first, followed by the United States, Spain, France, Germany, Switzerland, Austria, Singapore, and Italy in the consecutive places.
According to the PTDC head, the federal and provincial governments have made enormous attempts to improve the tourism sector, business atmosphere, safety and security, and health and hygiene. He added, “It shows in the index. Although we have made good progress, a lot still needs to be done to improve the tourism sector’s performance as it has the potential to play a key role in the country’s socio-economic development”.
Azam Jamil, a former Special Assistant to the Prime Minister (SAPM) for Tourism Coordination, claimed that he had always highlighted the necessity to enhance the supply side of the sector as opposed to the demand side. He added, “First we need to elevate our infrastructure, improve our safety record and pay attention to hygiene, especially when inviting foreigners. I had always told the (former) prime minister that first we need to get our house in order instead of running after numbers. Once we get our product in order, the numbers will automatically improve”.
According to Azam Jamil, provincial administrations had a major part in making the nation tourist-friendly. He added, “Provincial governments have a huge responsibility to ensure environmental, social, and cultural sustainability. It is imperative to involve local communities as they are direct beneficiaries of all progress”.