KARACHI: Domestic tourism has increased in last couple of years and it is time that Pakistan can attract international tourists too, said Travel Agent Association of Pakistan (TAAP) chairman Muhammad Nadeem Sharif on Saturday.
He said the country’s tourists sites could attract international tourists with ‘little efforts’.
“You name and we have all kinds of tourism interests in our country – mountains, beaches, etc. We have a lot of sites for religious tourism for Buddhist, Sikh, Christian, and even for Hindu.”
Sharif said people, who planned their trips a few months back, benefited since they bought their tickets at a lesser price.
“Domestic tourism is unabated despite the opening of international traveling,” said Sharif, adding “we gauge it by the hike in price of air tickets due to high demand.” One-way ticket from Karachi to Lahore was selling between Rs30,000 and Rs32,000 for an economy class, he added.
He mentioned that he had recently met the consul general of Sri Lanka and apprised him of Biddhist sites in Pakistan.
“If Pakistan manages to attract Buddhist tourism, apart from Sri Lanka, people from China, Japan, Singapore, and South Korea can also be expected to travel to Pakistan to visit Buddhist sites such as at Takht-e-Bahi, Swat, Peshawar and Taxila, near Islamabad.”
Sharif was of the opinion that if Pakistan projected its image well, Hindus from America and European countries could also come here in the country.
Pakistan has one of the oldest mandir in Balochistan named Nani Mandir, which is highly revered in Hinduism, he added.
Sharif quoted Turkish consul general saying that Pakistan could increase international travel by attracting foreign students too.“We have universities too that are doing well.”
He advised the government to increase facilities such as hotels, toilets, and first aid facilities, adding that increased facilities would improve word of mouth, which would eventually attract international tourists.