Tourism Potential in Pakistan
It’s time to unlock!
Aftab H. Wahla
Tourism plays a critical role in projecting soft image of a country, generating employment opportunities, spurring economic growth and earning foreign exchange for collective welfare of the society, country and the region. As per a World Economic Forum report, published in 2017, tourism is contributing over 10 percent of global GDP, and is accounting for one job out of ten on the planet. Direct and indirect global economic contribution of tourism was estimated to be a whopping $7.6 trillion in 2016, and as per the current rate of expansion in tourism-related activities, the report goes on to predict that “[w]ith a forecasted 1.8 billion international tourists by 2030, the industry has the potential to play a key role in creating high-quality employment opportunities, act as a vehicle to protect and restore our planet’s biodiversity and help build bridges between people and cultures.” In view of this massive potential of tourism sector in poverty alleviation, economic betterment and projection of soft image of a country, many countries are now undertaking administrative, political and legal reforms to attract maximum numbers of tourists.
Tourism can be defined as travelling to a place which is different from one’s hometown or country for various leisure and recreational purposes, and staying there for a certain period of time. The impacts of tourism are multidimensional and multifaceted and they carry huge transformational value for indigenous material and non-material culture. Role of tourism in national development can be understood in five areas: importance for society, growth and development, world and environment or eco-system. Tourism is an economic activity that encourages consumption-led growth as it is an industry that promotes nearly twelve dozen allied industrial sectors. It can help in building country’s brand value, image and identity; and it is increasingly gaining recognition as an indicator and barometer for not just growth and development but also for socioeconomic factors. Precisely speaking, tourism enhances growth, boosts economic activities, generates large-scale industrial revenue, expedites infrastructure development, helps political, cultural and economic mainstreaming of marginalized areas and communities, increases global connectivity through cultural exchange, results into betterment in the living standards of local communities and helps introduce new technologies.
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