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@eTC Aftab RanaPakistan Tourism Development Corporation (PTDC) staged a high-level Pakistan Tourism Symposium and Expo from 10-11 June 2024 at Pakistan National Council of Arts (PNCA) Islamabad. A two-day event was attended by more than 400 national and 20 international delegates from UN Tourism, Dubai, Italy, Jordan, Kuwait, Oman, Syria, the UK, and the USA – each an expert in their respective field of work in the industry and locally based industry players to mark this first ever PTSE, a much-needed platform to sparkle up a healthy debate, to address vital issues that enervate the immense tourism growth of destination Pakistan.

@eTC Delegates from Kalash.

Delegates from Kalash.

The show underlined Pakistan’s rich tourism potential and created Government Government (G2G), Business Business (B2B) and G2B linkages among the industry stakeholders. After the welcoming address, delegates praised the video documentary on destination Pakistan: “Salam Pakistan.”

Packed with knowledge, during the eight sessions, discussions on the subject of Green tourism and hospitality sector, Connectivity, Responsible tourism, Tourism Product Diversification, New Tourism Products, Investment in Tourism, Perception Building of Pakistan as a Tourist Destination and Tourism Education; seminar on Adventure, Sports and eco-tourism and breakout sessions on Religious, medical and coastal tourism. Discussions at the sessions garnered ideas and recommendations on seriously finding a way forward to put Pakistan on the tourist map.

Concluded on the theme: “Building the National Economy through Tourism”, the head of participating provincial and regional tourism authorities forwarded tourism development plans in line with the UN SDG, finding ways toward a responsible tourism approach through diversification of tourism products and meeting the challenge of the curse of over-tourism in particular popular tourist places. PTSE was successfully concluded on a high-pitch note with a commitment to move forward, bringing board industry players and the government to work together with a commitment to give Pakistan its share to become the world’s number one tourist destination, which has all the right diverse tourism products. Delegates gained insight into the industry through instrumental knowledge sessions and recommendations shared by stalwarts in tourism during the panel discussions and break-out sessions.

@eTC Guest from Chitral.

Guest speaker from Chitral.

During the two-day show, delegates experienced the flavours of Pakistani Cuisine and were entertained by folk performances that displayed the colourful traditions of different country regions.

In the closing ceremony, Aftab Rana, MD, PTDC, reassured that the company is committed to holding international events in Pakistan (the next one is coming up in winter 2024), developing a strategy to hold FAM trips for global buyers and travel media regularly, and participating at premier international travel trade shows.

Souvenirs were presented to participating panellists, moderators and supporters.

Post PTSE tours offered some delegates keen to experience the outdoors, such as day trips to Patriata Hill Station (near Murree) or the Taxila historic site and museum.

The PTSE is in partnership with the World Bank Group and supported by other local partners, including PNCA, COTHM, Ripah International University, Best Western Premier Hotel, Legend Hotels & Tours, Fly Jinnah, and Discover Pakistan.

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Written and Images by Saifuddin Ismailji