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Wednesday Oct 28 2020

Zulfi Bukhari breaks ground for five-star hotel in Chitral

National Tourism Coordination Board (NTCB) Chairman Sayed Zulfikar Abbas Bukhari addressing the ground breaking ceremony, in Chitral, Gilgit-Baltistan, on October 28, 2020.

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

Addressing the ground-breaking ceremony, he said the facility is being set up in collaboration with the private sector.

He said concerted efforts are being made to encourage the private sector for its active participation in the promotion of tourism in Pakistan.

The 80-bed hotel, with two restaurants and a hall with 500-person sitting capacity, is being constructed by overseas Pakistani Anwar Aman, who announced an investment of Rs5 billion in Pakistan's tourism sector.

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 to  national development.

He said his government had a comprehensive plan to promote the country across the globe.

A depiction of the envisioned project.

The NTCB chairman said the Pakistan Tourism Development Corporation (PTDC), the premier tourism body, is gearing up to launch several pending initiatives, delayed due to the closure of the 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 has three main components: brand identity development, musical score creation and an interactive e-portal, he said.

Bukhari said an exclusive e-portal would soon be launched to provide world-class exposure to Pakistan's tourist attractions through one click.

"The portal will consist of a user-friendly interface for prospective tourists to interact with and will provide them online connectivity to view Pakistan's tourist sites through virtual galleries, videos and documentaries."

National Tourism Coordination Board (NTCB) Chairman Sayed Zulfikar Abbas Bukhari addressing the ground breaking ceremony, in Chitral, Gilgit-Baltistan, on October 28, 2020.

Bukhari said the government had also formulated National Tourism Strategy (2020-2030) which will soon be launched.

It is meant to develop a harmonised framework for the tourism sector, after taking all stakeholders on board. It will focus on four key areas: good governance, tourism demand and supply, jobs creation and enabling growth.

He said the country is 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 steps taken by the government in the last two years for the promotion of tourism, the special assistant said that prior to COVID-19, the government undertook multiple initiatives at the 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 the previous governments slacking.

He said the government constituted the 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 is responsible for coordination between federal, provincial and regional tourism organisations and departments, along with international tourism bodies for promoting the country's tourist-friendly image.