It is heartening to know that the Punjab government is making serious efforts in exploiting tourism for economic growth. Punjab, too, like other provinces of Pakistan offers great sights for tourism. But with the pandemic going strong, there is little opportunity to currently support the industry.

The provincial government using this time to get prepared for a future where it can welcome tourists to experience the socially vibrant and culturally rich province is most welcome. A well-equipped tourism industry means that Punjab can attract both international and local tourists. The potential of domestic tourism is even more significant than the international tourism given the locals’ interest in visiting shrines of the saints and historic sites. The joint venture – Punjab Tourism for Economic Growth – between the Punjab government and World Bank aims to adopt a cohesive approach for the development of the tourism industry.

This shows that the government is focusing on the bigger picture not only to increase tourism in the province but also using it for economic growth. This sort of foresight is sorely needed at a time when reinvigorating the economy is one of the bigger challenges.

However, the government must not lose sight of the importance of minor things: various services and facilities available for tourists, such as an efficient local transport system, clean and hygienic food and accommodation at reasonable rates all need to be consistently improved if an increase in tourism is the stated end-goal. If such facilities are of substandard quality in any tourist spot, tourism eventually dies there. The provincial government’s efforts, coupled with Punjab’s rich culture and heritage will be the primary motivator for repeat visits of tourists.