ISLAMABAD    -    Managing Director of Pakistan Tourism Development Corporation Aftab-Ur-Rehman Rana has said that PTDC would hold an international tourism conference in August to promote agritourism, which would contribute greatly to the socio-economic development of the rural areas. In an exclusive interview with PTV news channel, he said that all local and international stakeholders would participate in the upcoming conference in which around 20 to 22 countries would take part, adding, online sessions would be arranged within embassies. “Pakistan has a huge tourism potential that PTDC wants to introduce to the world”, Aftab said, adding, “we are inviting the countries to learn from their experience on promoting tourism”. MD PTDC said that the aim of the conference was to promote the rural tourism activities for strengthening the local, provincial and national economy and putting the country’s rural areas on the road to progress and development as tourism helps in the development of rural areas and living standards of host communities. He said that Pakistan would promote harvest season tourism in villages, adding, tourists would discover rural culture, history and folklores during this season. Agritourism would help rural people to preserve their heritage and culture as well, Rana said. With the help of government, local farmers in villages would establish guesthouses and cottages for tourists, he mentioned. Replying to a question, he said that government in cooperation with farmers would arrange festivals, quarterly or annually to attract tourists. A responsible tourism awareness drive would also be launched through newspapers and social media platforms on keeping the tourist sites clean, he added. To maintain hospitality standards and address the issues of internet connectivity, PTDC was continuously in talks with telecommunication authorities to provide 4G/5G internet facilities in hilly areas of the country, MD Aftab Ur Rehman said, adding that series of workshops would also be conducted to control prices at tourist spots.