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FACTORS AFFECTING TOURISM OF PAKISTAN

FACTORS AFFECTING TOURISM OF PAKISTAN


Authors: Sir Muhammad Fahad Khan (MBA), UOK Co-Author: Emaan Sharif

TOURISM OF PAKISTAN Pakistan is just like heaven for tourists. It is full of beautiful places full of greenery high mountains flowing beautiful rivers and lakes. It is one of the most blessed countries in the world which are being sanctified by numerous beautiful expressions of nature ranging from huge glaciers, hollow valleys, beautiful water demonstrations and dry and traditional deserts which have from several years been the eye catching for the tourists from all around the world. Thats why tourism contributes a major proportion in the countrys GDP. There are several places staring from the Karakorum in the north till the Arabian sea in the south of Pakistan. Murree is also a commercialized tourist spot in Pakistan which has the pleasure of snow falling and evens the commercialized market having all the souvenirs regarding the natural places and traditions in Pakistan. The significant tourist attraction is the Sea side which adds the beauty to the place. Mohenjo-Daro and Thatta which are located in the interior Sindh are also one of the preferences of the tourist. Pakistan is home of most stunning Himalayan peaks, including K-2 and various magnificent valleys. It has beautiful Arabian Sea, deserts, Indus valley, ancient Buddhas civilization carved in its mountains and historic forts. With all this it is suppose to be one of the worlds greatest tourist destinations. Pakistan is home of a lot of beauteous Himalayan peaks, including K-2 and assorted arresting valleys. With all this it is accept to be one of the

worlds greatest day-tripper destinations. It has admirable Arabian Sea, deserts, Indus valley; ageold Buddhas acculturation carved in its mountains and celebrated forts. Pakistan has been ranked 103 of 124 countries about the globe. The World Economic forums Biking and Tourism Competitiveness Report 2008 (TTCR) appear these facts and figures. But due to a anemic biking and tourism framework, low branding and business capability and deduced antecedence accustomed to the biking and tourism industry by the government, These abstracts highlight the accretion and acceptation of environments sustainability in Pakistan. One can as well appraise the aggressive advantages and disadvantages to the tourism industry in Pakistan through casual at these statistics. Despite assorted campaigns to allure day-tripper from about the apple the amount has been bottomward anniversary year. This year it alone by 6% as compared to the abstracts of endure year. Presently its the acrid angel that is black biking and tourism. Things are not acceptable in abounding locations of the world. There are abomination problems. There are slums. There are agitator problems. Sri Lanka has had the Tamil Tigers for decades and humans still go, if you anticipate area you are traveling should be absolutely peaceful, you will be attenuated in your options. Being a day-tripper in the 21st Century requires a little courage, says Minister of tourism. Another agency for which Pakistan faces aggressive disadvantages in tourism area is the abridgement of accessories that cannot attempt the all-embracing standards. With a poor tourism basement the accouterment of accepted and aggressive auberge apartment in Pakistan is at bulk 110, the civic and cultural recourses is at 96, with contempt aegis bearings prevailing it is ranked 106 and ATM machines accepting Visa cards is 110 aural 124 countries. Ascent aggrandizement is addition agency abbreviation tourism here. A restaurant buyer said that the ablaze bulk of aureate is abaft acceleration in prices. He said the bulk of aureate he bought in 2006 was Rs.450 and now the aforementioned bulk costs 1200. Tourists abiding aback from these places accept words of ascent inflationary trends which as a aftereffect abash added tourists too. One can use this reports statistics to allocate and admeasurements the factors accidental in authoritative a anemic biking and tourism industry in Pakistan. The government should authenticate the acceptation authoritative framework in these areas by authoritative

FACTORS AFFECTING TOURISM OF PAKISTAN

accessible admiring business opportunities with a apple chic anchorage arrangement accepting a close focus on bus line facilities. The maturation of animal and accustomed assets can as well accord in development of this aged industry. Although Pakistan faces abounding aggressive disadvantages in biking and tourism industry but still one cannot avoid that Pakistan was ranked 40th for its airline casework and 39th for arena carriage infrastructure. What is bare is a focus on attention the accustomed ambiance like abounding added countries. This will not alone allure added tourists but as well would play a role archetypal in the apple as a could cause in abutment on all-around warming. All four provinces of Pakistan are gifted with heritage and culture and one of the fertile and unique collection of majestic and rugged mountains, lush fields, deserts, rivers, lakes, seashores and landscapes enriched with friendly and hospitable people thus making it a heavenly destination for tourists with different tastes. Pakistan is known in the world of tourism because of the mountainous regions of the north, the Hindukush, Karakoram and the Great Himalaya who form the densest concentration of high peaks in the world. Kalam (Swat valley) in Pakistans is known as the Switzerland of Asia..The hunza and Chitral valleys in Pakistan were the home to a small preislamic animist Kalasha community who claim descent from the army of Alexander the Great. The historical and archaeological sites of the Gandhara and Indus Valley Civilizations, Mohenjo-Daro, Taxila the Mughal Empire are the examples of oldest civilizations in Pakistan. This multicultural nature of the country also contributes to the tourism industry in the way that it offers various traditions, customs and festivals for the tourists to explore and enjoy. FACTORS EFFECTING TOURISM OF PAKISTAN Unfavorable Political Conditions Pakistan has been one of the favorite places for tourists but now the situation has been completely changed. The reason is its unfavorable political conditions. People think it an unsafe place after the assassination of popular political figures like Benazir Bhutto and Salman Taseer (governor of major province Punjab). Moreover the corrupt leaders dont pay attention to this major industry which can take its economy to the highest peak.

Lack of Proper Infrastructure Infrastructure in Pakistan is a great cause of the failure of profitable tourism industry. There are not proper roads, railway tracks and other transportation services. So tourists find it difficult to visit different places in Pakistan. Poor infrastructure is a hindrance in the way of developed and flourished tourism industry. Inability to Cope with Natural Disasters Pakistans government lacks the ability to cope with the natural calamities. Northern areas of Pakistan have been the tourists favorite place but after earthquake of 2005, those areas suffered incomparable loss but nothing had been done for their re-construction and redevelopment. Poor disaster management caused a loss to the tourism industry. Inefficiency of Airlines Transportation sector is most important sector of any economy and aviation industry is major part of this sector. In Pakistan the transportation and communication sector holds more than 10% share in GDP (Gross Domestic Production). The aviation industry can affect the other sector of the economy, e.g. the International Trade, tourism and socio-economic condition of the country. But there are some crashes which pull down the image of Pakistan in the eye of others and in result people found it unsafe to visit Pakistan, which is effecting the tourism of our country. Terrorism Pakistan has become an unsafe place due to everincreasing terrorist attacks. That is another major factor that is not only damaging the repute of Pakistan in the world but also causing its tourism industry to a decline. Tourism is one of major revenue earners for Pakistan, but persistent terror activities in the country have negatively impacted the tourism business, especially after the Marriot Hotel attack which left 60 people dead. In the latest Travel and Tourism Competitiveness Report (TTCR) 2009 released by World Economic Forum, Pakistan stands at 113, two places down from the previous year, moreover, the list got longer from 130 to 133 this year. Pakistan is one of the poorest countries on the planet, ranking 171st in the world on the GDP per capita measure, according to the CIA's World Fact book. Terrorism is a big detriment to Pakistan's

FACTORS AFFECTING TOURISM OF PAKISTAN

development, including its tourism industry. Terror attacks are common in the country, and even Pakistan's former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto was killed as a result of a suicide attack in 2007. The recent attack on Sri Lankas cricket team has also severely influenced the most loved sport in the country. With the international cricket teams unwilling to play in Pakistan, the tourists who were attracted via this sport have been lost due to national security concerns. Pakistans GDP has been one of the main economic factors that have been affected by terrorism exposed to the country. Consumer who were used to going out on a regular basic and purchasing high volumes of merchandise have been afraid to do in the recent years. This has caused a large decrease in consumer spending, which in turn has a negative impact on the Pakistan economy.As the GDP growth rate has gone down from 8.40% to 5.80% in 2007- 08 and more recently it has reduced to 2.10% in 2008-09(The business exchange). According to experiences curves and studies that have been conducted, it has concluded that it will take the Pakistan economy 33 years to double its size. Other effects of terrorism on the Pakistan economy The exchange rate has gone up from 60.5(Rs/US$) which has a bad effect on the economy. According to recent surveys, it cost Rs340 billions on terrorism which has caused the economy more than $35million in lost export, revenue and opportunities e.t.c. The inflation is currently at a high of 18.85%. Pakistan tourism country suffered a loss of 44 million dollars in the past year and has gone down by 6% despite various campaigns. Changing Weather

Tourism industry in Pakistan needs special steps to be taken for its betterment because it can serve as a source of developed economy. In spite of the above mentioned problems and factors tourism industry is still surviving as Pakistan has been ranked at 39th place for ground transport infrastructure. It shows that a little bit of attention can make it one of the largest industries of Pakistan. Inflation is the rise in the prices of goods and services in an economy over a period of time. When the general price level rises, each unit of the functional currency buys fewer goods and services; consequently, inflation is a decline in the real value of money a loss of purchasing power in the internal medium of exchange, which is also the monetary unit of account in an economy. Inflation is a key indicator of a country and provides important insight on the state of the economy and the sound macroeconomic policies that govern it. A stable inflation not only gives a nurturing environment for economic growth, but also uplifts the poor and fixed income citizens who are the most vulnerable in society. Inflation is considered another major cause of the failure of tourism industry. The hotel owners have to increase the price of food because of ever increasing prices of goods. High priced food has made Pakistan a place that is beyond the reach and affordability of tourists. Tourism industry in Pakistan needs special steps to be taken for its betterment because it can serve as a source of developed economy. In spite of the above mentioned problems and factors tourism industry is still surviving as Pakistan has been ranked at 39th place for ground transport infrastructure. It shows that a little bit of attention can make it one of the largest industries of Pakistan. Lack government concern towards tourism

Global warming and pollution has caused to change the climate and weather conditions of Pakistan. The northern areas and snowy mountains have started losing their beauty. So tourists are now attracted towards places having good weather and proper tourism facilities. Rising Inflation Inflation is considered another major cause of the failure of tourism industry. The hotel owners have to increase the price of food because of ever increasing prices of goods. High priced food has made Pakistan a place that is beyond the reach and affordability of tourists.

It is important to address the issue of how the Government of Pakistan can promote tourism in our country. At present, the government has not been able to figure out how to capitalize on the tourism potential and turn our tourism assets into a sustainable employment generating and foreign exchange earning venture. Infrastructure in Pakistan is a great cause of the failure of profitable tourism industry. There are no proper roads, railway tracks and other transportation services made by government. So tourists find it difficult to visit different places in Pakistan. Poor infrastructure is a hindrance in the

FACTORS AFFECTING TOURISM OF PAKISTAN

way of developed and flourished tourism industry. Pakistans government lacks the ability to cope with the natural calamities. Northern areas of Pakistan have been the tourists favorite place but after earthquake of 2005, those areas suffered incomparable loss but nothing had been done for their re-construction and redevelopment. Poor disaster management caused a loss to the tourism industry. Tourism industry like all other industries requires mass media campaigns to attract the tourist. In Pakistan little effort was made to promote the tourism. Every year government allocate negligible amount for promotion of tourism. No big promotional campaign has ever been launched on national and international level since 2007 (which was declared as Tourist Pakistan Year). It is very painful that most the Pakistani population does not know about sites of their own country due to lack of marketing and promotional activities. The government should make supportive business opportunities available with a world class network of roads having a firm focus on transportation facilities. Furthermore, immediate and aggressive marketing is needed to attract international tourists to Pakistan in the same way India has done with its Incredible India campaign. Negative Factors The negative factors effecting Pakistan tourism industry are the views and opinions of domestic and international tourists obtained via questionnaire and interview. According to the tourists the biggest problem they are facing while travelling is security issues which include the current insurgency in Pakistan. Even the domestic tourists dont feel like travelling in their own country. Second issue of tourists decline is the negative image of Pakistan portrayed by media to the outside world. Lack of infrastructure, ineffective promotional policies, inadequate tourists services and facilities, lack of initiative by concerned government departments, inadequate knowledge and training of personnel in tourism sector, law and order situation especially in the high tourist attraction areas, inadequate infrastructure facilities, lack of incentives in the tourist sector, failure to show and project the positive image of the country via media to the outside world, low allocation of annual tourist budget, lack of development and facilities in the mountain regions, lack of understanding to the tourist needs, the overtaking and change of

governments and administration within the country(army rule),high inflation rate are the key points which have altogether made tourism an unsuccessful industry in Pakistan. The tourism Ministry is not playing sufficient role and tourist faces difficulties in getting timely visa, other information's. The tourism authorities must focus on this sector as tourism is the only sector, which can contribute substantially in the poverty alleviation and improving the living standards of the local community. Affecting Income and GDP growth A well-established national tourism sector contributes to employment, raises national income, and can improve a countrys balance of payments. It serves as an important engine for promoting economic growth and plays a key role in poverty reduction, especially in developing economies like Pakistan. The downfall of Pakistans tourism and travel industry can also be illustrated by the fact that last year, despite many competitive disadvantages, Pakistan ranked 40th for air travel and 39th in ground transport structure, but dropped to 99th and 73rd respectively in 2009. Currently, the tourism picture is not very rosy elsewhere either. The UNs World Tourism Organization recently predicted that growth in international tourism in 2009 will be in the range of zero to two percent decline compared to the modest growth of two percent in 2008, mainly because of the global economic slowdown. World Economic Forum in 2009 also stated that a global recession will impact the entire Travel & Tourism sector, despite its strong performance in previous years. The financial crisis and economic recession are bringing about tighter credit conditions, high consumer debt, decreased housing wealth, stagnant wages, rising unemployment, all of which are leading to a reduction in travel demand, principally business travel. The promotion of eco-tourism can also enhance the image of Pakistan. The use of solar or wind power and clean bio-fuels are obvious strategic possibilities for hotels and transport companies, which can use slogans of going green to promote Pakistan as an environment-friendly country. Saad Amanullah Khan gave an overview and presentation on the economies, saying the global merchandise trade is $35.4 trillion and services trade is $3.7 trillion. He said Pakistan's GDP is 0.3 percent of global GDP and its trade is 0.1 percent of the global trade. He held the protectionist

FACTORS AFFECTING TOURISM OF PAKISTAN

policies responsible for decaying exports of Pakistan, saying effective levies on import were 90 percent high till early 90s, which left the local industries "inefficient" and cost structure uncompetitive. "Despite export doubling from $10 billion to $24 billion, the percentage of GDP remained flat," he said. He added that Pakistan could come out of economic problems with having long-term trade policies for at least five years. Conclusion Travelling has become an excellent remedy for the stress and anxiety demanded by our modern day life schedules. People prefer change when they get holidays so that they can relax their minds and spend some quality memorable time. Therefore, Tourism has become a popular global leisure activity and is the most dynamic and current growing industry of the world. Tourism activity and tourists are important because it is the most effective mean of exploring other countries, its people and their culture whereas the tourists help in building the bridges between nations through love, mutual understanding and knowledge, thus bringing different cultures together. Pakistan with is natural and historical beauty holds a great potential for tourism. The factors that have brought this industry down are the weak infrastructure and instability in the country. All these factors can be turned positive if government takes serious actions for this industry and for the country and also follow the techniques and methodologies being used by most successful destination countries in tourism. The methodology used for this research helped me in getting the views of the domestic and international tourists but still it lacks in the sense that it was not applied for majority of the population because of shortage of time and resources. One of the drawbacks of the research methodology I used is that the interviews from individuals are strongly influenced by their moods and level of comfort. But still today researchers make use of the interviews being the major source of information gathering on a larger scale. The shy behavior of women is also a difficult situation that most researches can face during their research in Pakistan; therefore most of the research done is on men. Comparison of Pakistan tourism industry with some of its neighboring countries and my proposed strategies help the government to identify the weak points in our tourism industry and develop strategies to improve this sector.