Warm hospitality of Pakistan’s hotel and tourism

In Pakistan hotel and tourism industries are gaining importance over the years in the economic development of the country. The value in US dollars of the Pakistani hotel and tourism industry had been valued at USD 20 billion in 2020 and it is forecasted that market will witness compound annual growth rate – CARG of 3% by 2026. During Covid-19 pandemic, the hotel and tourism industry was at great risk due to lockdowns, suspension of both domestic and international flights, closure of hotels, restrictions on social visits, gatherings, functions, meetups and dine-in facilities. Many people were unable to visit Pakistan due to strict SOPs imposed under the pandemic.

Pakistan’s history of hotel & tourism industry begins dates back to 1947. The sector over time has shown growth from small to medium and then to international chains of hotels. The onset of Covid-19 pandemic the industry struggled greatly due to restriction and lock down within and outside of the country for tourists. The hotel sector suffered from heavy losses due to shutdowns.

In pre Covid-19 period tourism was growing globally and locally. Pakistan was having boom of this sector as Pakistan was declared as the best holiday destination among the several international travelers list. People were travelling to Northern Areas from outside and within the country to visit these beautiful places. This was further accentuated by several high level visits from dignitaries from around the world.

Government policies were to promote tourism by relaxing visa restrictions for foreigners, to bring investment in tourism-affiliated business and to create more jobs. Many international chains announced expansion and set up their branches in these tourist’s spots to accommodate expected increase in demand. All of these policies and planning was disrupted because of the outbreak of the pandemic.

Pakistan has emerged as one of the most lucrative tourism spot, International and National Hotel Chains have proved their presence in the marked and offered market based services and offerings. The key driving factors for the growth of hotel & lodging industry in Pakistan in recent years have been exposure to social media. Tourism sites with the increasing digital influence, desire to experience travelling, enjoy leisure, visit to places of pollution free natural scenic beauty to get break from hectic routine and of course rise in purchasing power.

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The Covid-19 due to travel restrictions with closed borders and no domestic or international flights has great impact on global hospitality industry. There was cancellation/postponement of many events in FY20, these include Olympics Games, UEFA Euro 2020, World’s biggest travel Expo, ITB Berlin etc.

The situation improved lately due to strong vaccination drives in the developed as well as in the developing countries. It is expected that the travel rate will reach to pre-Covid 19 levels till CY 22.

Segmentation of hotel and tourism industry

The segmentation of hotel and tourism industry by type of tourism (inbound tourism and outbound tourism) and hotel by types are (economy and budget hotels, midscale hotels, upper class hotels, premium and luxury hotels and other types of hotels like shared living spaces, rented apartments, service apartments, etc.)

Hotel sector is the part of service industry and deals with guest accommodation. Hotel industry refers not only to hotels but also to some other forms of overnight accommodation like motels, inns and guest homes. Hotel sector does not include long term permanent accommodation. It is very closely associated with the tourism industry.

Key players in pakistan hotel industry

The key players in hotel & lodging industry are Pearl Continental, Marriott Hotels, Avari Hotels, Serena Hotels, Nishat Hotels and Movenpick Hotels. These are few players which dominate the market because of their services and offerings and give tough competition to each other due to their brand awareness and international & inbound tourism packages to attract more customers. These hotels are enjoying economies of scale and gaining more competitive advantages.

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The hotel & tourism industries are strongly interdependent and integrated to the extent that a country’s hotel industry is symbol of hospitality for tourists coming from foreign countries. Tourism sector is adding up in the gross domestic product of the economy through tourism-affiliated business, increasing income of the attached labor with tourists, Boom in the construction sector due to expansion and building of more hotels, motels, guest houses and rented apartments, rise in the employment opportunities for the local people to serve as tourist guides, helpers, drivers etc. and to get jobs in the hotel industry, shopping centers are set up to promote culture and heritage and handicrafts and art work of arsenic beauty is produced by engaging women folks also, native people provide rented cars, jeeps and other means of transportation to the tourists.

This improvement in tourism sector is invariably promoting the image of our country. Since people who are visiting most of the times don’t have places to live with family and friends so the best option left for them is to avail hotel accommodation. This clearly defines the inseparably strong interdependence and integration of both the sectors.

The International Tourism receipts in FY19 were USD 948 M (FY18: USD 845 M) with YOY growth of 12 %. This growth in Tourism sector is also augmented in the growth of Hoteling Industry. Both the sectors were hit badly and experienced significant decline due to the outbreak of the unprecedented pandemic Covid-19.

The demand for hotel rental is expected to rise but in short term demand of upscale hotels is expected to decline. This will persist till the time the international travel resumes to pre- Covid levels.

The revenue depends upon both Local & Foreign travel for tourism & business. The revenues of upscale hotels are dependent upon business travel and foreign tourists whereas Mid-scale & Small-scale Hotels are more dependent on local tourists. During Covid-19, FY20, there was a lock down which decreased tourists within & outside country.

Profit margin also decreased during FY20 following the trajectory of revenue. However, the margins improved in 9M FY21 as the companies restored to extensive cost cutting during the period depending upon the nature of the business model. Improvement in Revenue due to increase in local tourism is expected as government has relaxed restrictions after extensive campaign of public vaccination and result is decline in cases of Corona . Revenue has been propelled with the increase in Local Tourism. The revenue of up-scale hotels is expected to remain low since there is still slow change in inbound international travel.

The total recorded borrowing of the hotel & tourism sector was recorded at PKR 26,254 million as at 10MFY21(10MFY20: PKR 24,429 million) with YOY increase of -3.41. The trends of the sector have witnessed that major borrowing of the sector comprises long term debt, estimated around 45 %, while short term borrowing constitutes 22 % of it.

Owing to the nature of Hotel business inventory & receivable days are very low whereas working capital of Hotel & Tourism sector is characterized by high payable days, which showed significant increase from 112 days in FY20 to 153 days in 9MFY21, which point out towards a very serious problems of Cash Flow. The low interest cover also exists which indicates that sector’s financial risk remains elevated.

Tourism in 2019 contributed 7.1% in GDP but currently due to outbreak of pandemic covid-19 this industry is facing severe losses. People were expecting an increase in new job-openings, investment inflows, trade, transport, construction and tourism affiliated businesses expansion. Government has also announced favorable plans to develop tourism and easy visa policies for foreign tourists / travelers. This pandemic covid-19 outbreak has derailed government’s policy for the tourism industry for 2020.
In the long term to medium term, the tourism industry is expected to gain momentum. Pakistan is seen as one of the most sought after destinations for the last few years and this South Asian Nation has topped several international travel lists, making it one of the most attractive places in the world. Government’s effort has helped this sector to emerge as one of the most revenue generating sectors in the global market with the investment in infrastructure roads, airports, railroads and ports has made travelling easier for domestic & international travelers.
Tourism in this contemporary world is an important element in the growth and development of any country. Most of the developing countries rely on the revenue generated by the tourism industry. This sector is generating employment opportunities, foreign exchange and cultural development in many developing countries.
There are three types of tourism, leisure, exploration and educational tourism (Sustaining Tourism 2013). In leisure tourism tourists visit various attractive places for holidays and relaxation Tourism sector is invariably promoting the image of our country. Exploration tourism is for research and exploration to discover new things in all parts of the world (Balaguer & Cantavell Jorda 2002).
Lastly, Educational tourism is most commonly undertaken by young people to get education in other countries. For this purpose students get a visa for the duration of their studies.

Factors that affect tourism

A tour operator should consider various economic factors in the selection of a tourist destination for holidays, education, and exploration. However, some factors are directly related to the economic growth and development of the country of destination, but these factors have an indirect influence in the relationship between economic factors and tourism.

Pakistan has also become a significantly important destination for new hotel development. Pakistan’s hotel industry is showing an upward trend in hotel occupancy and average growth rate of the hotel industry. It is expected to rise further in the upcoming years. Covid-19 has badly affected the growth of this industry and has resulted in devastating losses to the industry. Out of 7 big hotels in Karachi 3 have been closed since March 2020 due covid-19.
The hotel industry is playing a role as a stimulant for the economic growth of the country. Hotels are expanding and flourishing continuously. In Centaurus Islamabad, Pakistan, Movenpick hotel was opened in 2020 as an example of a new up-scale mixed use development. This has made the mall more attractive since it has an ideal location just opposite the Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences and the city’s two international airports.
Since hotels are playing a vital role in promotion of tourism and are changing the business environment. Avari Hotels Group has set up hotels in Multan, Faisalabad, Mari and two more hotels in Lahore in 2019.

In March 2021, Hilton has signed an agreement with Dhabi Hospitality to build an upscale Double tree by Hilton brand, in Islamabad, likely to be launched in Pakistan by 2025. Its location will be west of the Islamabad City Centre and it will have 167 guest rooms, including 10 suites. This will be a part of Residential & Commercial development. In August 2020, Raddison Hotel Group signed a deal with Raddison Blue Serviced Apartments in Islamabad, Pakistan to open the country’s first internationally branded serviced Apartments.

Presently the companies working in the Hospitality Industry are Pakistan Tours Limited, Click Pakistan, Zeb Travels, Cox & Kings Pakistan (Pvt) Ltd, Adventure Tours Pakistan, Sitara Travel, Raka Poshi Tours (Pvt) Ltd, Islamabad Serena Hotel, Pearl Continental, Heritage Luxury Suites, Ramada by Wyndham Lahore, Karachi Marriott Hotel, Moven Pick Hotel Karachi & Avari Towers Karachi.

Pakistan’s Tourism Revenue reached 948 USD M in Dec 2019, compared with 845 USD M in the previous year. Pakistan’s Tourism Revenue data is updated yearly, available from Dec 1995 to Dec 2019. The data reached an all-time high of 1,127 USD M in Dec 2011 and a record low of 492 USD M in Dec 1999. The World Bank provides annual Tourism Revenue in USD.

The Government of Pakistan has eased the country’s visa policy, which has played a key role in attracting a large number of foreign tourists. Overall, 60,070 foreigners have visited tourist attractions in the country during the past six years, especially to the enthralling places located in the northern parts of the country. Following the policies of the current government and measures taken to promote domestic and international tourism, the country expects to see a rise in the number of visitors by nearly 30% until 2030.

In 2019, the international tourism receipts for Pakistan were nearly 948 USD million. Although Pakistan tourism receipts fluctuated substantially in recent years, they increased through the 2015-2019 period. This is the situation prior to the outbreak of pandemic COVID – 19.

From the stretches of great mountain ranges in the north, to the vast alluvial delta of the Indus River in the south, Pakistan remains a land blessed with nature’s beauty and majestic mountains. With shining deserts and some of the world’s highest peaks, the country has myriad attractions for sightseers, skiers, trekkers and mountaineers. For those interested in white water rafting, trout fishing, jeep, Camel rides and yak safaris and out of this world flora and fauna, Pakistan is the place to be.

Remarkable ranking of the country

It’s a land that holds a reservoir of knowledge for archaeologists, historians, artists, teachers and anthropologists, and it contains deep religious heritage for pilgrims of various faiths and beliefs.

Pakistan is ranked No. 1 on Condé Nast Traveller’s list of 20 best holiday destinations for 2020.

Lonely Planet called Pakistan ‘tourism’s next big thing.’

Forbes ranked Pakistan as one of the ‘10 Coolest Places to go in 2019.’

The British Backpacker Society (BBS) declared Pakistan as the world’s third best potential adventure destination for 2020. The year before, the BBS declared that ‘Pakistan tops the list of world’s best travel destinations’, describing it as ‘one of the friendliest countries on earth.’

Pakistan has been ranked as the world’s top adventure destination in 2018. Pakistan has been described as one of the friendliest countries on the Earth, with mountain scenery that is beyond anyone’s wildest imagination.”

Pakistan has number of world heritage sites like Archaeological Ruins at Moen-jo-Daro, Buddist Ruins of Takht-i-Bahi and Neighbouring City remains at Sahr –I Bahld, Fort and Shalamar Garden in Lahore, Historical Monuments at Mali Thatta, Rohitas Fort and Taxila. High Himalayas, Karakoram and the Hindu Khush range. Pakistan’s mountain ranges include the famous Himalayas, Karakoram and the Hindukush. There are several high peaks in Pakistan, with the tallest being K2 (at 8,611 metres), the second highest in the world. The country is blessed with five out of the 14 highest mountain peaks of the world. From April to September, domestic and international mountaineers throng the area.

The 806km Karakorum Highway constructed along the ancient Silk Road linking Pakistan to China is the highest trade route in the world as reported by” the Diplomat”. Additionally, the nearby Mintaka Pass lies along the fabulous ancient Silk Road that linked Europe to Asia and over which history’s most famous tourists once travelled. These include the Venetian trader Marco Polo in the thirteenth century (the wild Marco Polo sheep was named after him), the Chinese Monk Fe Hien in the fourth century, and Arab historian Al-Beruni in the eleventh century.

The Punjab province comprises rich agricultural lands, an extensive network of rivers and channels, shrines, ancient forts and gardens from the Mughal era. Over 2,000 years ago, the world famous Gandhara Buddhist civilisation flourished in northern Pakistan, with Taxila as the principal seat of Buddhist learning.

The Balochistan province is the largest in the country in terms of area. Besides being blessed with nature’s bounty of mineral resources, it also has immense natural beauty comprising mountain ranges, mines and a very long coastal belt, including the newly developed Gwadar Port. In Balochistan there are many caves for tourists to visit, including the Juniper Shaft Cave, Shahre-e-Roghan, the Murghagull Gharra cave, Mughall saa cave, and Pakistan’s naturally decorated cave, the Mangocher Cave.

In the south, the province of Sindh also abounds in natural beauty. It is most famous as home to the ancient city Moenjo-Daro (Indus Valley Civilisation), the commercial hub city of Karachi, plus its seaports and beautiful beaches, spread over hundreds of miles of coastline.

Again, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa is well known for its varying natural beauty, comprising some awe-inspiring valleys and mountains in the north, including the Kaghan and Swat valleys, and the famous Khyber Pass.

Spread over 72,496 square km, the northern areas of Pakistan are as captivating and mesmerising in beauty as the other regions. Amid towering snow-clad peaks, several over 8,000 metres, the beautiful serene valleys of Gilgit, Hunza and Skardu are magnificent.

Forty skiers from 13 countries including Greece, Turkey, Ukraine, Hong Kong, the UK and Belgium participated in the International Skiing Cup in Pakistan in February 2019 at Naltar, Gilgit Baltistan. The cultural patterns in this region are as varied and interesting as its topography.

Pakistan is also rich in vegetation and fauna. With their alpine meadows and permanent snow line, coniferous forests down the sub-mountain scrub, the vast Indus plain merging into the great desert, the coastline and wetlands, the Himalayas, Karakoram and the Hindukush ranges all offer a remarkably rich variety of vegetation and wildlife including avifauna, both endemic and migratory. 10 of 18 mammalian orders are represented in Pakistan with species ranging from the world’s smallest surviving mammal, the Mediterranean Pygmy Shrew, to the largest mammal ever known, the blue whale.

Through the centuries, waves of invaders and migrants settled down in the land that is now Pakistan, influencing the locals and slowly being absorbed among them. Modern Pakistanis are a blend of Harappan, Indo-Aryan, Indo-Iranian, Saka, Parthian, Kushan, White Hun, Afghan, Arab, Turkic and Mughal heritages. Thus, the region encompassing modern-day Pakistan is home to the oldest Asian civilisation (and one of the oldest in the world after Mesopotamia and Egypt), the Indus Valley Civilisation (2,500-1,500 BC).

Pakistan is a land of love and hospitality. A land of spiritual endowment, it is also the resting place of many spiritual saints from all religions, be it the sufi mystics of Islam; the Hindu Tiraths dating back to 3,000BC; the disciples of Buddha attaining ‘nirvana’ buried under the remains of Gandhara civilisation; or Baba Guru Nanak Ji, the founder of the Sikh religion who was born in 1,469AD at Nankana Sahib, about 72km north of Lahore. Pakistan has always whole-heartedly worked to preserve its historical sites — whether it’s a church, Gurdwara, temple, mosque, museum, tomb, fort or shrine.

Born in the foothills of the Himalayas, Buddhism found avid followers, supporters and patrons in Gandhara, the Land of Fragrance. Pakistan became the custodian of rich collections of sacred relics and superb specimens of art and architecture from Buddhist civilisation. For example, the Buddhist ruins of Taxila are priceless treasures of immense interest to Buddhists and researchers around the world. Taxila became a centre of excellence when the first ever university was founded there in the 10th century BC.

Thomas the Apostle came to present day Taxila in the first century AD. Pakistan has historical churches in various locations, and these religious buildings symbolise the spirit of a community and the cultural context of centuries. Our Lady of Fatima Church, Islamabad, Christ Church, Kotri, St Paul’s Church, Rawalpindi, Cathedral of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, Lahore, St. Patrick’s Cathedral, Karachi, Holy Rosary Church, Quetta, St Mary’s Cathedral Church, Multan, and St Luke’s Church, Abbottabad are just a of the few churches in Pakistan well worth visiting.

Sikhism was founded by Guru Nanak, who was born in Nankana Sahib, Pakistan. Since Punjab was the centre of activities for Sikh Gurus, and later the political power base of the Sikhs, there are numerous sites in Pakistan that are sacred to the Sikh community. Thousands of pilgrims visit these places from all over the globe.

Among the sacred shrines is Gurdwara Darbar Sahib, Kartarpur, near Lahore. Pakistan’s government opened the Kartarpur Corridor to allow visa-free access to Sikh pilgrims from India. In 2019, the government renovated and expanded Kartarpur Corridor to celebrate the 550th birth anniversary of Baba Guru Nanak, and it has thus emerged as a centre of interfaith harmony and a symbol of goodwill of the people of Pakistan for the Sikh community.

Gurdwara Panja Sahib, Hasan Abdal, Gurdwara Choa Sahib, Rohtas, Gurdwara Bhai Joga Singh, Peshawar, Gurdwara Sadhu Bela, Sukkur, and Gurdwara Dera Sahib, Lahore are just a few of the many Gurdwaras that are visited by thousands of Sikhs from around the world each year.

The Gurdwara has become the centre of the annual pilgrimage by Sikh communities the world over. All Gurdwaras and Sikh shrines in Pakistan have been declared sacred places and are meticulously maintained by our government. Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) offers special pilgrimage tours, and Pakistani embassies and consulates abroad issue expeditious pilgrimage visas for that purpose

Pakistan is a land of saints and sufis who preached amity, peace and universal love. Their teachings promoted religious co-existence, communal harmony and tolerance in society, which is why there has always been communal harmony in Pakistan. This provides further opportunities for religious tourism in the country.

History reveals that various Sufi saints have bestowed Pakistan with messages of adoration and peace to promote Islamic virtues. Pakistanis consider the country to be blessed as the resting place of Saints in the Shrines of Data Ganj Bakhsh Hajveri, Lahore, Hazrat Abdullah Shah Ghazi, Karachi, Hazrat Lal Shahbaz Qalandar, Sehwan Sharif, Sachal Sarmast, Khairpur, and Hazrat Bahauddin Zakaria, Multan.

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge’s visit to Pakistan was an important milestone in bilateral relations. After all, HRH Prince William had accompanied HRH Princess Diana to Pakistan at a very young age. Attracting international attention with huge media coverage, the visit was a boost of confidence for Pakistan’s tourism and cherished by Pakistan and its people.

There is a direct positive correlation between demand for hotel accommodation and number of Tourists. Both sectors are connected through driving factors of accommodation. Therefore, stability of hotel sector, advancement in the tourism sector & public tourism policies/programs bear a significant importance. The use of technology has become new normal amid Covid-19 and need of travelling has been reduced to a great extent.

Hotel & tourism is one of the most intensely affected economic sectors by the pandemic both globally and locally. International Tourism will take revival time but local Tourism is increasing as the strict government policies are being lifted and Corona positive cases are decreasing due to vaccination. Tourism sectors & its affiliated business is expected to increase initially at a low pace but gradually will attain its boom.

Looking at the progress of economy & budget hotels and mid-scale hotels are showing good recovery rate as the local travelers prefer these hotels. Whereas up-scale hotels will have to struggle hard with their top line competitors since there is low foreign travel and competition is increasing from mid-scale hotels. Countries at micro and macro levels are adopting new polices to move forward with the unedifying environmental challenges of global pandemic.

There is a need to promote culture of tourism through development of attitude and behavior of people providing guidance & facilities to tourists; adherence to cleanliness & hygiene at the hotels, motels, restaurants, eateries, washrooms specifically at the tourist’s spots; availability of economically affordable accommodation & food with charging exceptionally affordable accommodation & food with charging exceptionally high rates due to seasonal charges; to cater the issue of corruption & inefficiency of the tourism department in various provinces of the country and absence of proper work ethics and pursuance of a professional approach to attract foreign tourists. The advantage of this reigning pandemic was that both short-term and long-term policies have been designed to train the people linked with the tourist industry.

Tourist places in FY20 & early FY21 were closed but responded during the summer FY21. The tourist’s spots were overcrowded with the great number of visitors from all over the country to celebrate or enjoy their recreational trips after remaining constrained to their homes due to pandemic. This rush of tourists at Northern Areas, historical & religious sights led to shortage of accommodation and this excess demand pushed the prices of hotel accommodation resulting in overcharging and inflation.

The North of Pakistan is famous for its peaks, glaciers, lakes & forests where not only home grown tourism and foreign tourism can be attracted. Likewise the Historical sights of Taxila & Moen-jo-Daro have alluring effect for foreign tourists. The exquisiteness of desserts of Tharparkar in Sindh and Cholistan in Punjab, Coastal belt along with Arabian Sea in Balochistan have the potential to attract local & foreign tourists.

Future development steps

With mutual interest of government & other stakeholders (Tourists, Tourist Operators & Tourists guides) policies to promote culture of tourism should be monitored vigilantly by the Tourist department & ministries to hold regular inspection of the provided facilities and prices of accommodation & food. “Tourist Mafia” involved in cheating, corruption & over charging of accommodation & food should be eradicated. In Khyber Pukhtunkhwa tourist infrastructure e.g. roads should be improved. Naran is the major tourist spot and people want to visit legendary lake Saiful Maluk but unfortunately there is no road link available there to visit this spot. Seeing Saiful Muluk Lake, which is situated at an elevation of 3,224 meters (10,578 feet) above the sea level, is must for tourists but according to them, 10km road to the lake (Naran-Saiful Muluk Road) is so dangerous and rough that its users run the risk of facing accident. People are left at the mercy of “Jeep Mafia” who charge excessively from the tourists and don’t let the authorities to build road by bribing them and subverting efforts of the government to construct a good quality and “Jeep Mafia” is so strong that despite PTI government in KPK they have made it impossible for officials to build road link to lake Saiful Maluk and comp el tourists to have inhuman travel through torturous rocks and stones. It seems that there is a nexus between hotel Mafia, Jeep Mafia and the government which results into exploitation of tourist’s rights to travel safe and secure travel and hygienic & clean accommodation and food.

There are poor infrastructure and pathetic road conditions for the destinations of Swat & Kaghan-Naran. If the government projects that Pakistan will earn Re 1 trillion from Tourism by 2025, there is a need to make the rigorous efforts at the federal and provincial levels.

Pakistan requires to promote home grown tourism since it will take long to attract foreign tourists after pandemic. This can only bring significant changes in the economic development of the country if government ensures the provision of safety, security, better hygiene, good infrastructure and accommodation facilities.

The thriving tourism is a boom as long as it helps transform the socio economic conditions of the poor but a bane if it becomes a profiteering game of the rich to extract local resources for private gains. It is an insidious profit gaining game which will destroy natural habitat, Biodiversity and Scenic Landscapes. There is no consideration for Water Resources Developments, Solid Waste Management, Quality Sanitation Services, Social and Environmental Costs and Traditional means of livelihood.

The stakeholders (tourists, tourist guides & tour operators) are not happy and satisfied with the existing policies formulated by the government for promotion of eco-tourism in the area. The major source of attraction towards the area for eco-tourism are the Karakoram Highway, Glaciers, rivers, mountains, biodiversity of mountains, pasture, hospitality of host community, free environment, mountain biking, traditional sport polo and Silk Route festivals. While the main obstacles in the way of promoting eco-tourism are policy formulation and implementation, poor infrastructure, security concerns, lack of awareness, visa and flight problems, religious extremism and trekking permits and fees.

An enabling environment should be created by the government where unnecessary rules and regulations, which create difficulties for the tourists, should be changed. The briefing and debriefing for foreign tourists and permit for all trekking and expedition groups should be held in Northern areas instead of Islamabad. Moreover, visa extension facility and license facility for the foreign tourists should also be arranged in the places of their visits. The state of poor infrastructure in the Northern areas should be improved especially the communication, transportation, operation of direct foreign flights of Gilgit and Skardu and power problem. The Silk Route Festival should be made a regular annual event of the Northern areas.

Ministry of Tourism should announce plans like free visa to certain number of foreign tourists with full protocol; to digitalize tourism sector by maintaining a database of Hospitality Sector components such as accommodation units, travel agents, Tour guides, Tour operators and others; to get opinion of other Ministries and people; to collaborate with other countries for recovery of travel & tourism; to dedicate some buildings and light houses as tourist” spots; Online tourist vehicle permit should be issued to the tourist vehicle operator; training programs for tourist companies to develop their sales, marketing and behavioral skills; to promote adventure tourism & winter sports; to develop Tourism Facilitation Centre; to build an international level infrastructure; Ministry of Tourism should hold Webinar Series; to allocate Tourism Development Fund; to train Hospitality Industry linked people for safe operations of hotels; to improve lighting, renovation and roads; to establish more hotels, motels, resorts, convention centers and increasing contribution of public and private sector in tourism sector.

There is new emerging trend of Staycation which evolved during pandemic in FY 2020 in which people stay at luxurious hotels to revive themselves of stress in a peaceful way by living in their own city without spending money on buying airline tickets. This concept has been practiced in Hong Kong and now other are planning to introduce it.

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