Pak-China year of tourism 2023 to promote country’s tourism industry: Minister

ISLAMABAD, Sep 5 (Alliance News): Caretaker Minister of State for Tourism Syed Wasi Shah Tuesday said that Pakistan and China Year of Tourism celebrations 2023 would pave the way to further enhance the journey to promote the country’s tourism industry.

Addressing a ceremony of Pakistan and China Year of Tourism-2023 organized by Pakistan-China friendship association of Khyber in collaboration with Pakistan Tourism Development Corporation (PTDC), the minister said the friendship of Pakistan with the brotherly nation of China was stronger than mountains, deeper than oceans and sweeter than honey, whereas Pakistan welcomed its Chinese friends to invest with open arms in the country.

Shah said that China, a land of ancient traditions and modern marvels has long been a fascination for travelers around the world. “With a population exceeding 1.4 billion, in recent years, Chinese citizens have demonstrated an increasing appetite for travel, both domestically and abroad,” he added.

He apprised the participants that before the global pandemic, China’s outbound tourists spent more than 255 billion dollars on tourism. It showed the enthusiasm of the Chinese people for exploring the world.

The Minister informed that in 2019, more than 155 million Chinese tourists travelled overseas, contributing significantly to the economies of host countries. “We have an opportunity to tap into this global wanderlust and make Pakistan a must-visit destination on their travel itineraries.”

Wasi Shah said that Pakistan has rich cultural and religious sites, breathtaking natural beauty, glorious history and massive Buddhist heritage, adding that Takht-i-Bhai has unique and well-preserved glimpse into history while Mohen-jo-Daro associated with the Indus Valley and its museum reflecting the diver testament to humanity’s journey.

He said that throughout the region, one can find exquisite examples of Gandhara art, which blend Hellenistic and Buddhist styles. “Many museums in Pakistan, including the Lahore Museum, house impressive collections of Gandhara artifacts,” he said.

In connection to Pak China Year of Tourism, PTDC had organized several webinars to connect the tour operators of China and Pakistan to enhance B2B linkages.

A training seminar on Tourism promotion for developing countries was also being held in Beijing China from 22nd August to 11th September, 2023 in which two officers from PTDC and one from Tourism Department of Gilgit Baltistan were participating, he added.

He said, “We have also developed our publications on Pakistan and Buddhist Heritage Trail in Chinese language for the promotion of bilateral tourism. They are now available in printed form and also as e-publications on our website. We are also closely working with our Embassy in Beijing and they are doing their best to promote tourism in China.”

He said that Chinese Embassy had been provided with immense material on tourist sites of Pakistan which were displayed on their website in Chinese language to provide information to visitors interested to visit Pakistan. Chinese Tourists can also now apply for tourist visa online via our E-portal for visa, he maintained.

The minister said that it was his immense pleasure to announce that in November 2023, PTDC is also sending a delegation of tour operators to participate in China Outbound Travel and Tourism Mart in Beijing.

“It will be greatly helpful to build B2B linkages between the tour operators of both the countries and as result tourist traffic between the two countries will further increase,” he added.

However, he said that numerous opportunities were expected to emerge significantly in the next decades due to the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) and other business ventures.

Cultural Consular China Zheng Heqing thanked Pakistan for celebrating Pakistan and China Year of Tourism-2023 that would pave the way to promote bilateral tourism between two nations. China is showing keen interest in investing in Pakistan’s tourism industry, he added.

He also lauded the role of Minister of State, Wasi Shah and PTDC in promoting tourism in the country. “Pakistan is rich in cultural and religious heritages as both countries have long history of civilizations similarly, Gandhara tourism is very famous in Pakistan,” he added.

He said this year’s cooperation between two countries would be a positive development in promotion of cultural tourism.
Senior Journalist and Analyst Saleem Safi said that Pakistan-China friendship was exemplary and time-tested as CPEC was a gift of our brotherly country China. Pakistan was trying its best to ensure peaceful environment at tourist sites to attract foreign tourists, he added.


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