News Desk |
Pakistan’s natural and cultural landscapes made it to the prestigious Luxembourg Gardens in Paris, France, on Thursday when some French photographic displayed their photographs to promote tourism in Pakistan.
A special photographic exhibition of Pakistan’s natural and cultural landscapes is being held in the heart of Paris – the Luxembourg Gardens – from July 11 to 22.
The photographic exhibition is jointly organized by the Embassy of Pakistan, Senate of France and French tour operators. The exhibition showcases around 50 photographs of 10 French tour operators/photojournalists who paid a two-week visit to Pakistan in September last year.
Pakistan’s tourism industry attracted an estimated 1.1 million foreign tourists annually in 2011 and 966,000 in 2012 contributing $351 million and $369 million, respectively.
At the launching ceremony held on July 11, Pakistan’s ambassador thanked the French photographers and the tour operators for jointly exhibiting their photographs capturing Pakistan’s majestic mountains, archeological treasures and colorful folk traditions. He specifically thanked Dominque Auzias, the CEO of French travel guide ‘Petit Fute’ for his key role in the organization of the exhibition.
Earlier, the French tour operators and photographers while sharing experiences of their visit to Pakistan said that Pakistan offers one of the best tourism opportunities of the world due to its majestic mountains, sprawling valleys, rich cultural heritage, hospitable and friendly people and fast improving tourism infrastructure.
Read more: Pakistan’s dormant tourism industry
They said that tour packages offered by them for French tourists after their visit were receiving tremendous response and scores of French tourists were choosing Pakistan for adventure, culture and leisure tourism.
World Heritage Sites in Pakistan
In 2009, it was reported, the World Economic Forum’s Travel & Tourism Competitiveness Report ranked Pakistan as one of the top 25 percent tourist destinations for its world heritage sites. It ranged from mangroves in the south, to the 5,000-year-old cities of the Indus Valley Civilization which include Mohenjo-Daro and Harappa. The main destinations of choice for tourists to Pakistan are northern area, Swat, Naran Kaghan, Lahore, Peshawar, Karachi and twin cities – Islamabad and Rawalpindi.
In 2016, according to a newspaper report, foreign tourists visiting Pakistan stood at 965,498. Pakistan’s tourism industry attracted an estimated 1.1 million foreign tourists annually in 2011 and 966,000 in 2012 contributing $351 million and $369 million, respectively.
Before declining to 565,212 in 2013 which contributed only $298 million, in 2014, Pakistan received 530,000 foreign tourists contributing $308 million. By comparison, the report added, Pakistan’s domestic tourism industry is estimated at 50 million tourists who travel in the country on short trips usually between May to August. The largest tourism inflow in 2010 was from United Kingdom, followed by United States, India, and China.
Punjab Governor to Promote ‘Sufi tourism’
On April 24, while elaborating his new assignment, Punjab Governor Chaudhry Muhammad Sarwar had said that Prime Minister Imran Khan has tasked him to promote ‘religious tourism’, adding it was one of the biggest businesses in the world.
Being the head of religious tourism and heritage, he had said, he would promote “Sufi tourism” and his target was to bring in two million Sufi tourists from around the world. He said he would encourage Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist, Sufi and Christian tourists to come visit sites in Pakistan hoping that it would roughly add $5 billion to the economy.
Pakistan Suggests Single-tourist Visa for CAREC States to Promote Tourism
In a bid to attract tourists to climb the unclimbed peaks, experience the untouched coastlines and pay homage to religious and historic heritage, Pakistan had recently proposed the idea of introducing a single-tourist visa for all the member states of the Central Asia Regional Economic Cooperation (CAREC) Program.
The prime minister’s Adviser on Institutional and Governance Reforms Dr Ishrat Husain had floated the idea to interlink multi-country recreational and religious sites across 11-member states – Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, China, Georgia, Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, Mongolia, Pakistan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan – saying all the states have different interests but they also share several attractions that should be linked together.