Soft image, effective branding and provincial coordination important to flourish tourism in the country: Zulfi Bukhari

Islamabad, March 22, 2019 (PPI-OT): Zulfikar Bukhari, Special Assistant to Prime Minister on Overseas Pakistanis and Human Resource Development, presided the meeting of the National Tourism Coordination Board (NTCB). As the Chairman of the Board, he proposed to make short term and long term plans for the growth of tourism internally in the country. The second step, he said will be the branding of the country that is to be done in order to attract tourists to Pakistan. The Board discussed the newly introduced Visa reforms in the country that will certainly help in getting the attention of the tourists from all over the world.

The members of the board expressed satisfaction with the extension in “visa on arrival” facility to 155 countries which was limited to 24 countries in past. The travel advisories issued by many countries came under discussion and it was decided that the Board will have to work to get these travel advisories changed so that the perception about Pakistan can be turned positive. Zulfikar Bukhari mentioned the concerns about the movement of foreigners in the country how they have been addressed with the betterment in the security situation in the country.

He emphasized the need to take international organizations on-board and include them in task forces to build a trustworthy relationship with the international community. SAPM also said that the marketing taskforce under the Board should work on highlighting the tourist attractions throughout the country. They should come up with a slogan to market Pakistan on international platforms. Pakistan should be made a tourism brand that offers unmatchable tourism destinations. KPK Tourism Minister, Atif Khan, informed the board that the problem is the perception of the country.

It is to be made positive if the tourism industry has to grow. People outside the country do not know how beautiful Pakistan is and they certainly do not come to Pakistan because they have been shown a distorted image of the country, he added. Member of the NTCB, Kamran Lashari, emphasized upon the fact that the things that are most important to have to attract people from outside Pakistan are soft image and tolerant mind-sets. Most of the people that tour the world are free-spirited.

They will only come to Pakistan if they see an open society, he added. Zulfikar Bukhari established that the overseas Pakistanis have to contribute in this cause by being the ambassadors of Pakistan throughout the world. They have to start campaigns so that more people throughout the world can know how beautiful, safe and open Pakistan has become. SAPM proposed a market fund that is to be created by the federal government in which the provinces have to give their share in order to do effective marketing of their tourism destinations. He further added that the purpose of NTCB is to market the country’s image.

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