By Asim Hussain
ISLAMABAD: British High Commissioner to Pakistan Christian Turner has thanked the people of the country for their hospitality during his maiden visit to the northern areas. In a video message, Christian Turner said he was delighted that the tourism in Pakistan was increasing and the whole world had been praising its beauty.
He said the United Kingdom (UK) desired to see more sustainable tourism in Pakistan, creating jobs and supporting local communities. Hundreds of thousands Brits had visited prior to the coronavirus after the UK changed its travel advice due to the improved security. â€œBritish Airways and Virgin are now flying. All of that will help make tourism in Pakistan even more strong and allow even more visitors to come and see amazing sites like here at Altit Fort,â€ he remarked passionately with the exterior view of the iconic fort in the background.
The envoy underscored the importance of green tourism and said it was important to protect the natural beauty by reducing the plastic and litter at the tourist sites. Turner was not the first foreigner who was stunned by the beauty of Pakistan. Prior to the coronavirus, the tourism potential of Pakistan was the talk of town as multiple travel magazines of developed countries were recommending the tourists to include the country in its travel list.
Be it a CondÃ© Nast Traveller, British Backpackers Society, or famous v-loggers, all of them are confident about tourism promotion in Pakistan. The present government has also taken revolutionary steps to boost tourism activities in the country by attracting foreign tourists. It has opened up the country by providing an e-visa facility to over 170 countries and visa on arrival to the citizens of 50 countries.
â€œPrior to the coronavirus, at least 120 thousand foreigners have used the e-visa facility,â€ said a senior officer of the Pakistan Tourism Development Corporation (PTDC), expressing hope that the initiative would prove to be a game-changer for the tourism industry. The tourism was among the sectors that are badly hit by the coronavirus across the globe due to travel restrictions. Anyhow, the government in Pakistan had reopened the tourism in Pakistan with strict implementation of the anti-virus standard operating procedures.
The tourism has started bouncing back in the country as so far over 2.6 million visitors had visited the northern areas of the country after reopening of the sector a couple of months ago, said an official of the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government, here on Sunday.