Sunday Feb 28, 2021
NANDANA FORT, JHELUM: Prime Minister Imran Khan on Sunday said that tourism can be the biggest source of employment in Pakistan [if proper work is done to develop the sector].
He was speaking to journalists in Jhelum after the inauguration of Al-Biruni Radius — a tourism project developed for the revival of the country's heritage.
"I last visited the area about 25 to 30 years ago, the PM said. "The revival of tourism in this area was long overdue but when I took office, I got involved in other governmental affairs."
The PM said that there are three areas of tourism in Pakistan — the mountains, the seas and the coastline — adding that ancient sites are also very important in terms of tourism for the country.
"The world is fascinated by places like Mohanjo Daro and Harappa, while Nandana Fort was the biggest university of its time," the premier said.
He added that renowned Muslim scientist Al-Biruni performed experiments to measure the planet while working in Nandana Fort.
"This is a place where tourists from all over the world will come, that is why we have decided to develop this as a model village," he said while sharing the government's upcoming plans.
"Arrangements will be made for tourists to stay here, therefore, hotels and resorts will also be built under a public-private partnership," the prime minister said.
He added that very soon, the small village "will be on the world map."
Citing the examples of Turkey and Malaysia, the PM said that the countries' tourism sector also thrives on the basis of their ancient sites.
"Pakistan is also full of ancient touristic sites like Turkey. We have the remains of the Mughal civilisation in Pakistan but, unfortunately, the previous governments were unable to develop these sites properly."
He said that Turkey earns $40 billion annually from tourism, while Malaysia earns $20 billion from its maritime tourism.
"Despite having the same potential, Pakistan is earning nothing compared to Turkey and Malaysia," the premier said.
[Aside from contributing to the economy], tourism can also be the "biggest source of employment in Pakistan," he said. "The PTI government has, therefore, decided to provide full support to the people at the village level."