PTDC strives to boost religious tourism for revenue generation

ISLAMABAD (APP): Pakistan Tourism Development Corporation (PTDC) is pursuing a concrete plan to boost religious tourism in the country which can be a great source of revenue generation for the country.
“PTDC is working to promote religious tourism for not only revenue generation purposes but also promote religious harmony and tolerance among the people”, Managing Director, PTDC, Rana Aftab said in an interview with APP.
He was of the view that Pakistan is a country with landmarks of various religious ethnicities and has a great yet unexplored potential for religious tourism.
Religious tourism is one of the important segments of the country’s tourism industry which includes Buddhmat, Sikhmat, Hinduism, and Christianity-related tourism, and has a lot of potentials. Besides religious tourism, there were two other segments in the field of tourism one is adventure tourism and the other is cultural tourism.
The MD PTDC said that Pakistan’s adventure tourism is a unique segment of the country’s tourism sector which includes river rafting, paragliding, tracking, mountain climbing, and other new winter sports. Another important segment of this sector, he mentioned, is the culture and archeological sites of the country which are a great source of attraction for tourists both local and foreign.
Rana Aftab said that Pakistan has a 9,000 years long history from Mehr Garh till now which is a great archeological and cultural asset for future generations. “Through the promotion of these archeological sites, cultural tourists can be attracted towards Pakistan and help the country earn huge economic revenues”, he said.
He was of the view that the tourism sector of Pakistan has a lot of potential as one of the biggest employment generation sectors of the economy. According to world statistics, one out of 11 people is directly or indirectly associated with the tourism sector. In terms of economic contributions, MD PTDC said that the tourism sector is a direct contribution of about 1.5 trillion US dollars and it crosses 7.5 trillion US dollars if we include the indirect source which is a huge contribution the countries earn due to international tourism.
He said that the tourism sector has a lot of economic value as this sector is the only source of income for the people of those areas in the far-flung areas of Pakistan where no other employment opportunities are available.
Pakistan is rich in terms of having ample natural resources and potential in the tourism sector which needs to be explored to further promote this important sector of the economy. “Our domestic tourism market is already strong and, as per estimate, over six million domestic tourists visit different tourist destinations every year which help generate billions of rupees”, he said. Besides being an impotent source of economy, tourism is also a great means of communication between people, enhances the interaction of people belonging to different lands and ideologies, and promotes interfaith harmony as well as a positive image of the country.
Rana Aftab said that Pakistan has a variety of tourist destinations but one of the strongest and unique elements of our tourism industry is the hospitality of the local people which is also acknowledged by foreign tourists.
“Now it is high time to promote responsible tourism for which we need to educate people about the responsibilities of the tourist to save the environment as well as the cultural belongings of the areas”, he added.