Islamabad: Pakistan is home to a plethora of natural wonders as well as historical and religious tourist attractions that draw a great number of local and international visitors each year.

In 2020, however, the Covid-19 epidemic wreaked havoc on Pakistan’s tourism industry. Local tourists have strengthened the local tourism business this year, despite the limited intake of tourists from abroad due to pandemic-related travel restrictions.

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Experts and government officials feel that, given Pakistan’s enormous tourism potential, all efforts should be taken to expand the growing tourism sector and attract not just local tourists but visitors from all over the world once the pandemic has passed.

Prime Minister Imran Khan has stated that one of his government’s main priorities for generating money and job opportunities is to promote tourism in the country.

The total contribution of travel and tourism to GDP in 2019 was 5.7 percent, according to Pakistan Tourism Development Corporation Managing Director Aftabur Rehman Rana, who added that when the pandemic hit the world in 2020, the total contribution to GDP dropped to 4.4 percent, resulting in the loss of a large number of jobs.

He claimed that in 2020, Covid-19 cost the tourism industry of KP more than ten billion rupees by paralyzing a number of tourism-related firms.

According to Rehman, the number of tourists has exploded since the start of summer, resulting in a shortage of lodging, forcing many to stay in temporary shelters, tents, and the homes of locals.

Over 3 million tourists visited tourism destinations in KP during the recent Eidul Adha holidays, including Naran, Kaghan, Kalam, Swat, and Chitral, he added.

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According to MP Saleem Rehman, the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor’s improved road infrastructure has also played a key role in unlocking tourism’s immense potential.

Both the federal and provincial governments must take extraordinary efforts and develop comprehensive strategies to strengthen and expand the tourism sector, particularly for foreign tourists, in order to generate significant foreign cash while rebranding Pakistan on the global arena, according to Rana.

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