rawalpindi - It is time to promote a tourist-friendly image of Pakistan. For the purpose, cooperation between different organisations and involvement of public-private partnership is required.

Pakistan Tourism and Development Corporation (PTDC) Managing Director (MD) Chaudhry Abdul Ghafoor Khan said this on Friday. He had called on Adviser to Prime Minister Sardar Mehtab Abbasi at his office on Friday.

During the meeting, he told the adviser that there are countless opportunities in the country as it has five out of 14 world’s highest peaks and largest glaciers outside the polar region. The valleys, lakes, deserts and other tourist attractions make it matchless, he said. He added that the cultural and historical milieu with unique cuisine is world famous. “We are about to launch Islamabad City Bus Tour Service,” he said. The MD said Chakwal has been declared as model tourist district and meetings with the heads of chambers of commerce and industries are also in progress.

The MD told that the Prime Minister has directed that PTDC should take all measures to promote and develop the tourism industry in the country. He desires that Pakistan should be recognised as a brand of quality tourism all over the world so that it can contribute to the economy by earning foreign exchange for the country, he said. For the purpose, PTDC will also be provided with required funds. Khan briefed that the existing PTDC motels are being upgraded and new motels would be setup. There are numerous places in Pakistan, where tourist facilities can be developed and PTDC will play a pivotal role in this development.

He further added that we are working in sports, fine arts and health tourism to introduce new features of tourism in the country. We are in process of finalising some agreements with international airlines and to educate youth in the sector, proposals are under consideration with different universities to introduce BS degree programmes through Higher Education Commission so that we may provide quality manpower to the sector, Ghafoor said. We have requested the Prime Minister to include tourism in the National Development Plan and also retain PTDC at the federal level, he said.

Speaking on the occasion, Abbasi said that the efforts of PTDC in development and promotion of tourism in the country are appreciable and we are hopeful that with proper publicity and promotion, the tourism industry in Pakistan will flourish. “Government of Pakistan is willing to provide all support for the purpose,” he said.