Pakistan travel and tourism symposium begins in Islamabad

ISLAMABAD     -   The two-day Pakistan Travel and Tourism Symposium, organized jointly by the Pakistan Tourism Development Corporation (PTDC) and World Bank Pakistan, commenced at the Pakistan National Council of Arts on Monday. The symposium, themed “Building the National Economy through Tourism,” attracted over 20 foreign delegates and more than 400 national and international tourism professionals, industry experts, and decision-makers. They convened to discuss and share ideas for developing a sustainable growth roadmap for Pakistan’s tourism industry.

A tourism expo was also held to showcase Pakistan’s rich tourism potential and create government-to-government (G2G), business-to-business (B2B), and government-to-business (G2B) linkages among industry stakeholders. The event aimed to explore critical facets of the tourism sector, focusing on green investments, improving connectivity, responsible tourism, and the conservation of natural and cultural heritage.

The opening ceremony featured Chairman Prime Minister’s Youth Programme Rana Mashhood Ahmad Khan, Minister for Culture, Tourism, Antiquities & Archives Sindh Syed Zulfiqar Ali Shah, and Additional Secretary Cabinet Division Hammad Shamimi as chief guests. Addressing the participants, Rana Mashhood Ahmad Khan highlighted Pakistan’s diverse culture and natural beauty, emphasizing the government’s commitment to developing the tourism sector for socio-economic development and employment generation. He underscored the potential to engage youth in the tourism and hospitality workforce and stressed the importance of formulating policies to offer quality education, vocational training, and skilled employment in the sector.

Additional Secretary Hammad Shamimi reiterated the government’s commitment to making Pakistan a top tourist destination by improving infrastructure, facilitating connectivity, and fostering a business-friendly environment. He emphasized the promotion of responsible and sustainable tourism practices to preserve natural and cultural heritage.

Managing Director of PTDC, Aftab ur Rehman, welcomed the guests and highlighted the crucial role of tourism in economic and social development. He expressed hope that the symposium would produce strategic frameworks, policy recommendations, and collaborative initiatives for sustainable tourism growth. Deputy Secretary General of ECO, Jandos Asanov, praised Pakistan’s tourism potential and highlighted the importance of long-term investments in tourism infrastructure.

The symposium also featured four panel discussions on topics such as green investments in tourism, improving connectivity, responsible tourism, and tourism product diversification. A tourism expo showcased Pakistan’s attractions, and a culinary show by COTHM Global highlighted students’ culinary skills.

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