LAHORE:Punjab Tourism Department arranged a discussion forum in connection with International Tourism Day being observed today (Tuesday). Speakers and experts spoke about the prevalent problems and their possible suggestions for improvement.
The foremost and main theme of discussion was “Rethinking Tourism” in the context of post-Covid era. Panelists like Prof Sajida Vandal, Principal ITHM Faisalabad, Ms Qurat ul Ain, Deputy Director Lahore Museum, Asim Rizwan, Travel & Tourism expert Syed Yousaf Rizvi and Senior Specialist World Bank Ms Kiran Afzal shared their views regarding different ways and means to improve the travel and tourism industry.
The second theme was “Tourism we Want” on which renowned architect Prof Dr Fouzia Qureshi, hospitality expert Umar Hussain, Travel & Tourism expert Anees Iqbal and research officer Ehtesham Chaudhary threw light.
Dr Fouzia Qureshi in this session emphasised the need to involve private sector in this industry to boost up economic activity and speed up the work. Umar Hussain said that there should be uniformity in structures and building in northern areas of Pakistan. The haphazard situation in Murree needs to be improved properly, he added.
Anees Iqbal while talking about the religious and heritage sites said that there are thousands of Budhism places in country. ‘We need to look upon them and make them sustainable to attract religious tourists around the world,’ he stressed. Ehtesham Ch said that Punjab’s tourism is incomplete without its heritage. He stressed on the need to promote heritage places and have them as the drivers of economic activity.
The third session under the theme of “A new Governance for Recovery” was attended renowned panelists such as Walled City Lahore Authority DG Kamran Lashari, ETPB Chairman Habib ur Rehman Gillani, hospitality expert Amir Altaf, Governance expert Umar Mukhtar, archaeologist Nafees Ahmed and Ms Alizay Saba from Lahore Museum.
Kamran Lashari while talking about the governance said that multiple authorities on a single place sometimes created hurdle to the work. Our departments need to work in cooperation but unfortunately this is not the case here, he added.
Evacuee Trust Property Board (ETPB) Chairman Habib ur Rehman Gillani said that tourism sector needed to enhance its institutional mechanism, funds and accurate marketing techniques to make progress.
Habib ur Rehman Gilani said that tourism is based on three main things, i.e. site development, tourists facilitation and marketing. All the categories fall under these elements. He suggested that the Tourism Department needs capacity building, institutional mechanism and proper funding to operate. In the end, Secretary Tourism Punjab Ehsan Bhutta appreciated the suggestions and views of participating panelists in the three sessions. He said that department would definitely look forward to all the suggestions given by the experts.