Saturday, 16 December 2006
ISLAMABAD, Dec 15 (APP): President General Pervez Musharraf Friday said Pakistan is a real destination for? tourism and the government is making all out efforts to improve infrastructure and facilities for the tourists.? Launching the year-long celebrations in connection with ?Destination Pakistan 2007?,here at Convention Centre, the President said there is great ?untouched and uncovered? potential for promoting tourism, which should be explored to attract maximum tourists from across the world.?
President Musharraf said ensuring law and order is the responsibility of the government adding that the government had been taking adequate measures in this regard, therefore, the countries having ?travel advisory? for their citizens to Pakistan should be removed.
The President highlighted the scope for tourism relating to religion said there are many important holy places of Bhudism, Hinduism and Sikhism which should be projected in an appropriate way to attract the tourists relating to these religion.
President Musharraf said soft image of the country would also be projected through the promotion of tourism.
He said, ?Pakistan is much different what it has been projected and perceived outside? therefore, with the promotion of tourism, this perception would also be improved.
The President said Pakistan has all types of weathers and land while the temperature range here is from 50 degree centigrade to minus 50 degree centigrade, and it could have attraction for all kind of tourists from various countries.
President Musharraf said tourism is multi-billion industry and its improvement in the country could enhance economic activities and alleviate poverty.
Referring to the share of Pakistan in the tourism, he said out of 8 per cent of the world?s tourism business of South Asia, Pakistan has just 4 per cent of this business.
He said the development of tourism would also improve job opportunities and the economic benefits of tourism would reach the poor.
The President said Pakistan has all types of terrains, and it is a great honour that the country has the second highest mountain of the world, K-2.
He said Pakistan has five highest peaks out of 14 in the world and there are tremendous chances for hiking, mountaineering and many other sports.
Referring to Cholistan desert, the President said it could be a natural attraction for many tourists while coastline of Pakistan from Karachi to Gwadar was another beautiful area to be explored for tourism.
He said the plains of the Punjab have many beautiful sites as it has one of the biggest ever canal network in the world, which is worth-seeing.
Musharraf said Pakistan has also many oldest civilizations like Ham Gargh, Gandhara, Moenjo Daro and Harappa, which have attraction for many world tourists.
Referring to natural beauty in Northern Areas of Pakistan, the President said Karakoram Highway, which is considered 8th wonder of the world, has great attraction for the tourists.
He said Pakistan has the highest polo ground in the world at Shandur where Polo matches are played every year. He said the country has snow covered mountains and lakes, besides many valleys.
The President said infrastructure in the Northern Areas is being improved and many valleys like Chitral, Hunza, Skardu and Kaghan have been linked through roads to facilitate the tourists.
President Musharraf, however said still the country needs good and better airports, quality roads, hotel accommodations and other facilities to further promote the tourism.
Appreciating the efforts of Ministry of Tourism for promoting tourism, the President emphasised the need to encourage ?domestic tourists? to explore the beautiful places in the country.
The President urged the people to see the country and know it, as it has great potential for tourism.
He also asked the Ministry of Tourism to start Car Rally, particularly in the Northern Areas as these areas are among the highest places in the world and the rally would be ?on top of the world?.
The President said there should be more comprehensive publicity to promote the tourism, both at domestic and international level.
He said the government has also relaxed the visa restriction and it is now the most liberal visa regime and the number of countries have been increased to 24 for granting visa on arrival.
The President said due to various religious attractions and natural spots, there could be millions of tourists from India to Pakistan.
Appreciating the efforts of Minister for Tourism Nilofar Bakhtiar, the President said, though it is a humble start to promote tourism, it is very good beginning.
He assured his full support and cooperation to the Ministry of Tourism for further promoting tourism.
He said the calendar of the events for ?Destination Pakistan 2007? is also very attractive.
Earlier, the Minister for Tourism Nilofar Bakhtiar in her welcome address, highlighted various features of the ?Destination Pakistan 2007?.
She said it is a humble start by the Ministry of Tourism adding it would promote soft image and project the country in a better perspective.
She also thanked the delegates from 40 countries, and representatives of tour operators for their participation in the inaugural ceremony of the year-long celebrations.
Nilofar Bakhtiar said Pakistan has attraction for tourists from across the world including the religious tourists.
Begum Sehba Musharraf, the first lady, also attended the function.????
Ministry of Tourism arranged a cultural show on this occasion to highlight the traditional culture of various areas, tourist attractions and music to promote tourism.