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Branding Pakistan ‘a better place for investment’

Nation branding has become an increasingly important strategy for world because of increasing market complexity resulting from globalization forces, domestic and international government policies, foreign exchange fluctuations and changes in the natural environment, which obviously wider the range of factors such as sustainability and market competitiveness. Nation branding is crucial in order to attract investment, boost exports and attract tourists and talented workforce and stands between public diplomacy and economic benefits. An adequate policy of Nation Branding based on a positive, credible and economically reliable image can be able to extend the range of potential customers and of potential investors. With the aim of better understanding the new challenges, opportunities and threats existent in a globalized economy by realizing the importance of the topic we need to work for the better branding of Pakistan to attract FDI’s into Pakistan, to improve the country’s stand-up image and to improve the character in the nation can over dramatically influence its success in fascinating investors in tourism and investment. Nation brand and foreign direct investment (FDI) is always inter connected and without nation branding foreign direct invest cannot survive in the country.

Nation Brand Hexagon

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Nation branding is playing the most significant role for the development of any economy by attracting local and foreign investors, which requires growth in the position of both symbolic and representative value of products, and leads nations to highlight its distinctive characteristics. Branding and developing the image of country with productive and positive image gives ts exports a significance towards what they really produce and export to the other nation. Role of government with the target to improve their country’s stand-up image and the reputation can melodramatically influence its achievement in attracting investors, tourism and investment but now in the world of globalization, nations become more knowledgeable and treat their brand as an asset and in this struggle of developing the asset countries need to struggle not only from the platform of government but also from the platform of non government organization. This is the way in which a nation comprehends and makes serious differences for the success of their business, tourism and trade efforts by creating reputational capital through economic, political, cultural and diplomatic relation and social interest promotion at home and abroad. Nation branding is an arena of philosophy and practice which goals to build and manage the reputation of the nation (closely related to branding) such as an increasing the rank of emblematic value of the products, have led nations to highlight their distinctive characteristics but nation branding is comparatively totally new concept for Pakistan. Many people around the world knows that the best black tea is from Kenya and the most spicy food products are from India, Italian are stylish, French are famous for its artistic work, American as industries, and South East for beautiful beaches, Malaysian for true Asia and Switzerland for breathing in mountains, These insights are all features of the countries brands; meanwhile a major of all brands is the imagery or relations that the people hold about the countries. Pakistan did not number in nation branding index (NBI), it may be the worth value of the state of Pakistan against the nation branding index standards. In common language it’s saying that now days Pakistani brand does not exist, but having impossible unproductive or poor brand does not mean that there is no brand in Pakistan. Pakistan has surely by forced put in war and terror so now one have time to think or show their interest in Nation Branding Index, which is directly affected and diminished our nation branding.

Nation Branding Index (NBI)

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Future for Pakistani economy

Most of the nation’s having better branding and economic conditions are developed nations but some of them are under developed too and they are striving hard to develop their own nation brand, Pakistan is also in the list of those developing countries. Our country has natural resource such as oil, coal, gas, gold, minerals and natural beauty. If we talk about attraction of investment in Pakistan than tourism is the industry in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KPK) especially which may catch huge attention of investors if we present and brand our product properly. Refining tourism is also necessary for attracting more investment, according to the ‘Economic Revitalization of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and (erstwhile) FATA’ project (World Bank and Multi-Donor Trust Fund-sponsored) conducted a tourism sector analysis. It also showed that the four most visited destinations of the KPK province recorded five million tourists in 2018 and these sites support 8,665 direct jobs in tourism value chain and contribute $5 million to the local economy through tourism receipts and the numbers swelled during the summer when KPK’s destinations received more than 2 million tourists during the four Eid holidays in June 2019. The scenic valley of Hunza (located along the ancient trade route of Karakoram Highway) registered a phenomenal year-on-year increase in the tourist numbers between 2018 and 2019 but unexpected arrival of COVID-19 will ruin all plans and startups including home stays and tour operators are suffering due to cancellations of group bookings.

At the turn of this decade, Pakistan saw the return of British Airways, previously red travel advisories turn green, visits from various dignitaries including the British royal couple, and press-authorities on tourism boast of Pakistan’s attractiveness for tourists. The rusting mechanism, once employed by tour operators, was being cleaned and readied for the season. Pakistan boasts beautiful mountains, pristine lakes and rivers, historically vibrant cities, and unparalleled tales. For years, the plague of terrorism had walled these wonders from the rest of the world, and the walls were beginning to crumble. Pakistan was ready to open itself up to the rest of the world. China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) further catalyzed growth in different sectors of KPK with the construction of much-needed motorways, and exclusive economic zones. You-tubers from different countries also provided a soft image bump, which proved to be a powerful form of marketing.

In Pakistan gorgeous nature, green Jungles, world highest mountain K2, world famous glaciers, oldest heritage, beautiful philosophy. However, there persist some thoughtful problems in Pakistan such as security, which is the major issue now days in Pakistan. Pakistan with its rich culture and landscape diversity is a stimulating and eye-catching place for visit and tours.

Government is also working hard to attract and promote investment in culture and heritage and KP BOIT (Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Board of Investment and Trade) is striving hard with the government to take positive steps on ease of doing business to attract local and foreign investment. KPK is rich in water from the Mother Nature in the form of waterfalls and serious efforts are taken to attract investment in power projects supported by these reservoirs of water. The province is also rich in fruits and dry fruits production so efforts must be taken to boost exports which is only possible if we follow the international standards.

Foreign direct investment (FDI) in Pakistan dropped due to the poor economic management, energy shortages and persistent terrorism and shapeless economic policies. KPK has competitive advantage over other provinces due to the nature and if we preserve and promote our culture effectively than we may gain huge attention of foreign investors, which not only develop tourism but also enlarge the size of informal sectors associated with this industry by increasing employment and earnings of stakeholders. There is a strong need to engage private sector to support government sector to achieve the desired task of harmonized growth.

Urooj Aijaz (Faculty Dept of Management Studies/BBS, Bahria University Karachi) — special thanks to Mr. Hassan Daud Butt (CEO KPK BOIT) for the valuable support

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