ISLAMABAD  -  Prime Minister Imran Khan Saturday said the government would formulate an all-inclusive and comprehensive policy for the promotion of tourism in the country so that all allied sectors could also benefit from it and the tourism sector could be further strengthened.

He was chairing a meeting of Tourism Task Force here, which was attended by provincial ministers Yasir Humayun, Muhammad Atif and Abdul Khaliq Hazara, AJK Minister for Tourism Mushtaq Minhas, federal and provincial secretaries Ali Tauqeer Shah, Waqar Zekirya, Sirajul Mulk and Zulfiqar Ali Khan, and others.

The provincial ministers briefed the prime minister about the steps being taken by the provinces for the promotion of tourism.

The prime minister said tens of thousands of unemployed youth could get job opportunities by focusing on hundreds of tourism places spread over the length and breadth of country, particularly the Northern Areas, coastal areas, religious sites, and the historic places like Moenjodaro. The country’s tourism potential could easily be highlighted at home and abroad by using modern technology and especially social media, he added.

Besides the promotion of eco-tourism, religious tourism and adventure tourism, the prime minister said special focus was required for the establishment of tourism resorts. He said handing over of the administration of public rest houses to the private sector through a transparent and set criteria would not only help promote tourism but also ensure the right use of those assets.

The prime minister directed all the provincial representatives included in the Task Force to identify potential places in their respective provinces and areas within a week for the establishment of tourism centres.

He directed all the provincial governments, including the Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) and Gilgit Baltistan to formulate comprehensive plans and time-frames to achieve set targets by the next week, in line with the TORs (Terms of Reference) of the Task Force.

The prime minister also called for identification of all hurdles in the promotion of tourism at the provincial levels, so that the federal government could provide assistance to the provincial governments in finding the actionable solutions of the bottlenecks.

He said though the promotion of tourism was the responsibility of provinces, yet the federal government would extend all possible cooperation to remove hurdles in the promotion of tourism and in capacity building of the provinces.