Prime minister approves tourism marketing strategy.
Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz on Thursday 7/22/2006 approved the Tourism Marketing Strategy designed to fulfil Pakistan’s tourism potential and to efficiently promote the country’s unique products to specific markets. Chairing a meeting at the Prime Minister House to review the initiative, Aziz said that the government was committed to leveraging the country’s vast tourism potential and had, to this end, improved access to Pakistan by way of introducing a liberal visa policy.

The prime minister stressed that a strong tourism industry would produce economic benefits through job creation and foreign exchange earnings. Tourism, he said, would also help to improve Pakistan’s image abroad, since foreign visitors would have the opportunity to gain first-hand experience of the country. Noting that 2007 had been declared the Year of Tourism, Aziz urged the Ministry of Tourism to adopt all possible measures to ensure its success. To do this, the prime minister said, efforts should first focus on encouraging domestic tourism within the country by setting up hotels and other tourist-related amenities since foreign tourism invariably took root in places where domestic tourism already existed. He pointed out, however, that the government’s role would be that of facilitator, stressing that responsibility for providing tourism infrastructure would fall to the private sector. He said that a number of international investors had already expressed interest in building hotels in the country’s major cities. Similarly, several international airlines were adding Pakistan to their flight routes, which, he said, would help the growth of tourism in the country.

The tourism secretary delivered a detailed presentation on the Tourism Marketing Strategy, which had been jointly prepared by the Tourism Ministry and the private sector. Appreciating the targeted focus of the plan, the prime minister stressed that the strategy’s success would lie in its implementation, the responsibility of which lay with the Ministry of Tourism. The Tourism Marketing Strategy aims to focus on the unique selling points of Pakistan, including historical and world heritage sites, world class climbing and hiking areas, sacred religious sites of significance to Muslims, Sikhs, Hindus and Buddhists; as well as nice markets covering sports tourism (such as extreme adventure sports) and eco tourism. The first phase of the strategy identifies as target markets: Germany, Austria, France, Italy, Switzerland, Spain, Japan, Korea, USA, Canada and Scandinavian countries. The second phase identifies as target markets: Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Oman, Singapore, Taiwan, United Kingdom and other European countries. Commending government efforts to promote a viable tourism industry in Pakistan, the private sector representatives said that government policies were contributing to the country’s growth and business development. They also hailed the government’s decision to liberalize visa policies.