Pakistan’s selected as World Tourism Forum host: boost for tourism industry

The 2021 world tourism forum is planned to be held in the capital of Pakistan, Islamabad. Tourism ministers from D-8 (developing 8) countries including Turkey are all expected to attend next year's forum. With Pakistan having much to offer, the forum gives the developing state an opportunity to tout its tourism potential and natural beauty.

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Tourism ministers from D-8 countries including Turkey are set to attend next year’s forum in capital Islamabad. Pakistan’s tourism industry is set to benefit from this massive recognition by the world community.

Pakistan will host the World Tourism Forum next year to tout the country’s tourism potential around the globe, especially among the countries of the D-8 (developing 8) bloc. Tourism in Pakistanis expected to increase, with many opportunities for the young nation to learn from other developing countries, in an industry that is still yet to grow and flourish.

World Tourism Forum 2021 participants

Addressing a press conference in the capital Islamabad on Sunday, Syed Zulfikar Bukhari, the prime minister’s adviser on tourism and overseas Pakistanis, said the tourism ministers of all the D-8 member states, including Turkey, will also participate in the forum in Islamabad.

The event had been scheduled for this year but was delayed until next year due to the coronavirus pandemic. Over 1,000 foreign visitors will attend the five-day event.

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“Pakistan has a huge tourism potential that we want to introduce to the world, especially the Muslim world,” Bukhari said, adding: “We are inviting the tourism ministers of D-8 countries, including Turkey, to learn from their experience promoting tourism.”

The World Tourism Forum is an organization based in Istanbul, Turkey dedicated to developing tourism around the world with its annual meetings.

Pakistan’s plan of action for boosting tourism industry

Pakistan, Bukhari added, had drawn up a five-year action plan to boost its tourism, badly hit by years of terrorism in the country following events related to the 9/11 terrorist attacks in the US.

Islamabad, he added, will launch a tourism e-portal by the end of this year to better attract foreign and local tourists.

From the snow-capped peaks in the north and glistening waters in the south, together with limitless opportunities to watch wildlife, sail in the mighty Indus river, and deep-sea diving in the Arabian Sea, Pakistan has a great deal to attract tourists.

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The northern Gilgit-Baltistan region, which borders neighboring China, is home to six peaks of over 8,000 meters (26,246 feet) tall, including the world’s second-tallest peak, K2.

The region also boasts over 5,000 large and small glaciers and more than 100 lakes, which jointly make up the world’s largest freshwater reservoir.

Eco-lovers can also witness the endangered snow leopard and brown bear, in addition to 300 species of wildlife in the breathtaking region.

Pakistan tourism industry to benefit from ‘faith tourism’

Pakistan is situated in a region that for centuries has been home to three major world faiths – Hinduism, Buddhism, and Sikhism.

The South Asian Muslim state hosts scores of revered pilgrimage sites – dating back 5,000 years – for not only the followers of the three religions but also from some prehistoric traditions such as the Aryan religion, Barhaman religion, and ancient Iranian and Greek religions.

The northwestern Khyber Pakhtunkhawa province – once a poster child for terrorism and suicide bombings – is home to 70% of the sites in the country sacred to Sikhs and Buddhists.

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Punjab, the country’s most populous province, and the southern Sindh province also host several sites linked to the three faiths.

Once known as the heart of the Gandhara civilization, Takhtbai or Takht-i-Bhai ( throne of origins) – a small scenic town located some 160 kilometers (99 miles) from Islamabad – is the most-visited site by the Buddhists, who flock to see an ancient monastery dating back to the 1st century.

Northeastern Punjab is home to five most important pilgrimage sites for Sikhs. They include the birthplace of Baba Guru Nanak, the founder of the Sikh religion who was born in 1469 in the Nankana Saheb district, and the Gurdwara (monastery) Punja Sahib in the town of Hasan Abdal, where the handprint of Guru Nanak is believed to be imprinted on a boulder at the monastery.

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The two sites are visited by thousands of Sikhs every year from neighboring India, Europe, and America.

The Katas Raj temple in the northeastern Chakwal district and Sadhu Bela temple in the southern Sukkur district are the two most-visited religious sites by Hindus from across the world.

Pakistan in all its entirety has much to offer the world in terms of scenic beauty, heartwarming hospitality, and tourism in general. But will the developing state be able to market itself well on the world stage? As history indicates otherwise.

Anadolu with additional input by GVS News Desk

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