Tourism industry sets to take off as govt embraces digitization

ISLAMABAD: The tourism industry has tremendous potential to significantly contribute to national economy, which is not only identified by the Pakistan Tehreek–i-Insaf (PTI) government but also endorsed by international experts at different level. Unlike its predecessors, the incumbent government has taken lead in embracing digital media to project the country true tourism potential at national and international levels by adopting effective and open policies in this sector. The credit of restoring the status of Pakistan as best tourism destination at international horizon definitely goes to the PTI government, an official in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa ministry of tourism, sports and culture stated. He said not a single government sensed the potential of social media to promote the scenic spots, located in the northern parts of the country, but the present government had given the priority to the the digital media which had been proved to be an effective tool so far. The official said soon after coming into the power, the provincial government introduced a tourism digital media strategy to harness the digital media for attracting the local and foreign tourists to the country tourist resorts. Under the strategy, he said the KP government launched a tourism app to facilitate the tourists visiting the various tourist spots of the province. The application offered all the data related to tour operators, hotels, restaurants booking, tracking, tourist resorts, lakes, and weather in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, he added. The official said a number of international v-loggers including Mark Weins, Trevor, James and Khalid Al Ameri were engaged for the tourism promotion. Their visits to the provincial tourist gems were also arranged by the provincial tourism ministry, he added. He said a dedicated awareness campaign was also launched to promote winter sports and adventure tourism. Special teams of photographers, designers and content producers were constituted to project the beauty of all the tourist spots at plethora of social media pages, the social media team head in KP Waqas Khan said. He said video reports on Pakistan tourism were being promoted through the party, government departments and the relevant minister pages. An official in the Pakistan Tourism Development Coordination (PTDC) said the department had also worked out a strategy for utilizing social networking sites to boost tourism activities. The v-loggers, bloggers and content producers were being sensitized under the new strategy to produce quality content in that regard, he added. Initially, some 100 social media influencers had been engaged for the purpose. Under the programme, the official said the PTDC would arrange interactive sessions with the social media influencers to encourage them for highlighting the scenic beauty of different tourist resorts located in different parts of the country. The private sector was also bearing the fruits of this mediums as some tour operators had endorsed the fact that the social media has turn around the entire industry. The social media offering low-cost advertisement facility has transformed the tourism sector and discouraged the traditional ways of business promotion, Head of Adventure Island Club Jawad Ali Shah has told APP. Now, there is no need to make brochures, cloth banners and arrange sessions to attract potential clients. This is the possible fastest and costeffective way to reach maximum people,†he maintained. He said Facebook was charging minimum Rs 100 per day for placing an ad on it. The number of viewers of that ad could be doubled by paying more for an advertisement. The Facebook usually charged Rs 5,000 for an ad which was viewed by 100,000 people, he added.