Pakistan is a nation that has been blessed with immense beauty, vibrant cultures, bustling cities and a rich history, key ingredients that every tourist looks for when planning their vacation. Yet in spite of all of this Pakistan does not rank among the most sought-after tourist destinations. Though in all honesty, it doesn’t take a genius to figure out why.
Pakistan`s perception in the international circles is as a country plagued by terrorism, religious extremism, religious intolerance, and lawlessness. A decade ago all of these inferences could be deemed true. But through the tireless efforts of the Pakistan armed forces and Pakistan’s brave populous, Pakistan has slowly and surely come out of its dark age.
The improving security situation across the country has also given Pakistan’s ailing tourist industry a much-needed push. In fact, the British Backpackers society has ranked Pakistan as the top tourist destination for 2018.
Tourism has always been a key contributor to Pakistan’s Economy. According to the Travel and Tourism Competitiveness Report 2017 released by the World Economic Forum, the direct contribution of travel and tourism to Pakistan’s GDP in 2015 was US$ 328.3 million, constituting 2.8% of the total GDP. The government predicts that by 2025 the contribution of tourism to Pakistan’s economy would stand at US$9.5billion. These statistics shouldn’t it come as a surprise though? Northern Pakistan is a wonderland for nature enthusiasts and lovers. It is home to the world’s second tallest peak, K2, also known as the killer mountain. Pakistan is also home to several heritage sites. In 2009, The World Economic Forum’s Travel & Tourism Competitiveness Report ranked Pakistan as one of the top 25% tourist destinations for its World Heritage sites. It ranged from mangroves in the south to the 5,000-year-old cities of the Indus Valley Civilization which included Mohenjo-Daro and Harappa.
Pakistan’s tourism industry is on the rise. This has all been made possible by the recession in terrorism. The number of foreign tourists, as well as domestic tourists, is on the rise. In fact, the Pakistan Tourism Development Corporation (PTDC) data shows that international tourists have more than tripled since
2013 to 1.75 million in 2016, while domestic travelers have jumped 30 percent to 38.3 million. Pakistan also improved its ranking in the 2017 Travel and Tourism Competitiveness Index released earlier this year by the World Economic Forum.
The improvement in tourist figures is a testament to how long Pakistan has come in its war on terror and how normalcy has once again returned to the country.