Tourist traffic at Pakistan’s cultural heritage and museum sites surged exponentially in the last five years, claims the latest recent report of Gallup Pakistan. The report quotes an optimistic figure of a 317% rise in tourist traffic, with Punjab hosting 95% of the total tourism traffic.
#Tourist traffic in #Pakistan witnesses a sharp increase from approximately 1.6M visits in 2014 to 6.6M visits in 2018. Total visits by foreign tourists more than doubled during this period.
(Gallup Pakistan) https://t.co/5uVoYOyNe2 pic.twitter.com/v8QyLvfWRs
— Shahbaz Ashraf (@sh_baz) September 30, 2019
The report by Gallup Pakistan pins tourism a focal game-changer to thrive Pakistan’s struggling economy. Cultural sites recorded a major rise in the tourist inflow from 1.6 million visits in 2014 to a striking rise of 6.6 million visits in 2018. While Punjab dominated the list, the tourist inflow in Sindh and KP fluctuated over the years.
The tourist visits to museums sites recorded a 50% increase, with 1.7 million visits recorded in 2014 to 2.8 million visits in 2018. Museums in KP and Balochistan also experienced a similar rise in tourism traffic whereas, in Punjab and Sindh, the number of visits to museum sites fluctuated over the years. But overall, the provinces recorded a maximum number of visits in 2018.
Lahore Museum was the widely visited place by foreign tourists in 2016 and 2017. The Taxila museum also hosted most tourists from 2016 to 2018.
The foreign tourists increased more than twofold in Pakistan at both cultural and museum sites. A 100pc and 130pc rise of foreign tourist recorded at cultural sites and museums, respectively. The trends suggest that foreign tourists cherished museums more than cultural sites. The trend among all four provinces for total foreign visits saw a gradual increase, with the highest increase in KP where the number of museum visits in 2018 rose by 250pc.
The Pakistan Monument Islamabad, Khewra Mines Chakwal, and Lok Virsa Museum in Islamabad were the three highest-grossing tourist attractions from 2016 to 2018. Taxila museum and Lahore museum placed at fourth and fifth place.
"The tourist traffic at Museum sites has seen an approximate 50% increase — number of visits increased from 1.7 million in 2014 to around 2.7 million in 2018."
Source: Cultural Heritage & Museum Visits in Pakistan, Gallup Pakistan Big Data Analysis Teamhttps://t.co/y7piVwHaVD
— Gallup Pakistan (@GallupPak) September 23, 2019
Shahi Qila and Shalimar Garden in Lahore were the prime cultural sites in 2016 and 2018, with Hiran Minar in Sheikhupura, the most popular site in 2017. The third most popular site in 2016 was Jehangir’s tomb, Lahore. In 2017 it was the ancient Buddhist monastic complex Takht-i-Bahi in Mardan that was the most visited and in 2018 it was the Hiran Minar.
Lahore Museum was the widely visited place by foreign tourists in 2016 and 2017. The Taxila museum also hosted most tourists from 2016 to 2018. Shahi Qila was the most cherished site by foreign tourists. The third most visited site by foreigners in 2016 was Moenjodaro, Larkana, Jehangir’s Tomb in 2017 and the Shalimar Garden in 2018.
Now, the current government of Pakistan Tehreek-I-Insaf, harnessing the vision of PM Khan to thriving tourism sector of Pakistan, are redirecting massive development initiatives of KP tourism sites, with additional efforts to support religious tourism in Pakistan. PTI government has declared KPK the tourism hub of Pakistan.
Multiple projects of rehabilitation and development of tourism sites, accompanied with substantial amendments in tourism policy, across Pakistan, and primarily in KPK are underway for tourist facilitation.