LAHORE: The Punjab government, tourism, archaeology and museums department along with its attached departments, is taking steps by launching an online portal tailored for Sikh pilgrims, streamlining booking and digital payments for global tourists.
This marks a significant milestone in easing access for tourists visiting the country. The government’s dedication is evident in planning guided tours for international Sikhs across Punjab’s historical landmarks. The proposal to establish a Sikh resort in Kartarpur and the creation of an online booking portal for Sikh visitors from other countries demonstrate Pakistan’s inclusivity and commitment to facilitating diverse tourists.
TDCP’s proactive measures extend to enabling online bookings for Patriata and sightseeing buses, leveraging technology to enhance the tourist experience.
Under the World Bank-funded project Punjab Tourism for Economic Growth (PTEGP), 10 golf carts are operational at various sites, amplifying convenience for tourists exploring these attractions.
Furthermore, the Tourism Development Corporation (TDCP) has bolstered visitor convenience by providing seven vans and five coasters, facilitating seamless travel experiences. This initiative has resulted in an increased tours, propelling tourists to explore various attractions across Punjab.
The tourism department’s efforts in Lahore are commendable, focusing on revitalising key areas like Anarkali Food Street and Nabha Road, showcasing a commitment to restoring vibrancy and cultural richness.
A novel addition to TDCP’s offerings is the introduction of a new route to Governor House on the double-decker bus, offering citizens weekly tours within its halls, enhancing accessibility to historically significant sites.
In addition to these initiatives, the Cholistan Jeep Rally attains international recognition as an event designated by the Federation Internationale de l’Automobile (FIA), spotlighting Pakistan’s sports and tourism competence.
Simultaneously, advancements in technology allow TDCP buses to be booked online, while the extension of E-ticketing facilities to the Patriata chairlift enhances convenience for visitors.
The Archaeology Directorate of Punjab Monuments successfully completed restoration projects at key heritage sites including Bibi Jiwindi Mausoleum in Bahawalpur, Chitti Masjid in Rahim Yar Khan, Khair al-Nissa’s tomb in Jhelum, and the Baoli of Sher Shah Suri in Mianwali, preserving the country’s rich historical legacy.
These commendable efforts have garnered recognition from the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) in its 2023 report, highlighting Pakistan’s exceptional recovery, achieving 92 per cent of pre-pandemic tourism levels. The influx of foreign tourists has surged by 115pc, projecting a promising path with expected international receipts reaching $1.3 billion by the year-end.
Secretary Tourism, Archaeology and Museums Raja Jahangir Anwar said he understands the need for innovation and collaboration in today’s dynamic tourism landscape. Collaborating with stakeholders, embracing technological advancements, and adopting innovative strategies will be key in shaping Punjab as a progressive tourism destination.
Pakistan’s recognition by the UNWTO reinforces its leading role in the resurgence of tourism, cementing its status as a top global destination. This accolade underscores the nation’s dedication to nurturing tourism for economic advancement and cultural interchange.