Published On: Thu, Oct 29th, 2020
Published in Category: District News

Zulfikar Bukhari performs ground-breaking of a five-star hotel in Chitral

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CHITRAL: National Tourism Coordination Board (NTCB) Chairman Sayed Zulfikar Abbas Bukhari on Wednesday performed ground-breaking of a five-star hotel in Chitral to ensure provision of quality accommodation and dining facilities to visitors.

Addressing the ground-breaking ceremony, he said the facility was being set up in collaboration with private sector. He said concerted efforts were being made to encourage private sector for its active participation in the promotion of tourism sector. The 80-bed hotel, having two restaurants and a hall with 500-person sitting capacity, is being constructed by overseas Pakistani Anwar Aman, who announced to invest around Rs 5 billion in tourism sector in Pakistan.

Zulfikar Bukhari, who also holds the portfolio of the Prime Minister’s Special Assistant on Overseas Pakistanis and Human Resource Development, extended his gratitude to the Pakistani diaspora for contributing in the national development. He said his government had a comprehensive plan to promote the country as customized brand across the globe. The NTCB chairman said the Pakistan Tourism Development Corporation (PTDC), the premier tourism body, was gearing up to launch all the initiatives, delayed due to the closure of sector in the wake of coronavirus.

The PTDC, he said, had developed ‘Brand Pakistan’ with the help of international experts and would launch it soon to introduce the country as a tourism brand across the world. Brand Pakistan had three main components, including brand identity development, musical score creation and interactive e-portal, he added. He said an exclusive e-portal would soon be launched to provide a world class exposure to Pakistan’s tourist attractions through one click. “The portal will consist of a user-friendly interface to interact with the prospective tourists and provide them online connectivity to view Pakistan’s tourist sites through virtual galleries, videos and documentaries, and avail the various available services.”

Zulfikar Bukhari said the government had formulated National Tourism Strategy (2020-2030), which was in a launching process. It was meant to develop a harmonized framework for the tourism sector, after taking all the stakeholders on board. It would focus on four key areas, including good governance, tourism demand and supply, jobs creation and enabling growth. He said the country was also preparing to host the ‘World Tourism Forum’ next year to showcase the country’s tourism potential, attract investment and build Pakistan into an international brand. “The participation of over 1,000 foreign visitors, including investors, companies, tourists and holiday makers is expected.”

Highlighting the tourism promotion steps taken by the government in last two years, the special assistant said prior to the COVID-19, the government undertook multiple initiatives at policy level, formed authorities at the Federal level to boost coordination among federating units and opened up the country by easing the visa process to revive the sector once lurching from crisis to crisis due to slackness of the previous governments.

He said the government constituted the National Tourism Coordination Board (NTCB) with representation from all the provinces and stakeholders. Nine working groups were formed to assist the NTCB, with each group assigned a specific thematic area such as ‘Policy and Regulatory Reforms’, ‘Eco Tourism’, ‘Culture and Heritage Tourism’ and ‘Religious Tourism Working Group’. The board was responsible for coordination between federal, provincial and regional tourism organizations / departments, along with international tourism bodies for promoting the country’s tourism.