Tourism activities are considered to be one of the major sources of economic growth. It can be regarded as a mechanism of generating the employment as well as income in both formal and informal sectors. Tourism supplements the foreign exchange earnings derived from trade in commodities and sometimes finance the import of capital goods necessary for the growth of manufacturing sectors in the economy. On the other hand rapid economic growth in the developed economies attracts foreign travels (Business travels), which leads to an increase in the foreign reserve of the country. Many countries in the world are getting benefit because of the tourism. Currently United States of America is earning the most from tourism that is $116.3 billion, while Spain is earning $59.9 billion and their economies are boosted up due to the income of foreign currency. Lets have a look at why Pakistan is unable to make her mark in the tourism sector.
The fifth so called province of Pakistan that is Gilgit Baltistan , which was affiliated with Pakistan in 1947 unconditionally, is one of the most beautiful places on earth. Its importance starts with the world’s second largest mountain K-2 , Himalayan mountains, The Fairy Meadows, Nanga Parbat, Shandur, Deosai plains , The hunza , ghizer, Diamer , Skardu, The ancient forts etc. Before 8th January 2005 there were good number of tourists rushing towards Gilgit but after the sectarian violence which started again after 1988,ruined the tourism industry of Gilgit Baltistan.
Government failed to control the situations till 2014 and after the revolution of Awami action committee which succeeded in gathering people of different sects together and strived for solidarity among the divided sections of GB. The people of Gilgit have now realized that their future is in their hands, they cannot blame others, what they can do is to raise the voice and stand against any sort of discrimination as they did couple of months ago for the subsidy of wheat.
Pakistan’s economy can also be benefitted if it succeeds in establishing long-lasting peace in the region of Gilgit-Baltistan. It will also build a positive image of country outside the region and will again attract the tourists from around the world.
Many of my friends are very keen to visit Gilgit-Baltistan but at the same time they hold the opinion that it is dangerous to travel to Gilgit because the situation could deteriorate anytime. This general perception needs to be changed and for that matter government needs to take appropriate measures so that safety of tourists could be ensured.
The above comparison should be an eye-opener to all of us. We need to deliberate on the pathetic state of tourist industry of Pakistan in general and Gilgit-Baltistan in particular. In order to bring a rapid change in the sector of tourism the government must take steps by establishing Tourist information centers, by providing them facilities and top it all the government must ensure the safety and life security of people , so that they could come and see this beautiful place.
The contributor is a student at Muhammad Ali Jinnah University Islamabad (MAJU).