How to Make Metropolitan Cities Tourism Ready

Badshahi Mosque in Lahore

Almost all developing countries in the world rely on tourism to keep their economies rolling. Being a part of this groupPakistanhas also historically relied on tourism to promote a positive image of the country and generate much-needed revenue in the process.Pakistan has mostly relied on natural tourism to attract local and foreign tourists, but the relevant authorities have to inject new ideas into this industry to improve it further. Times are changing fast and so are the dynamics of the tourism industry around the world. Countries are now shifting their focus towards making metropolises tourism ready by taking different measures. How then can Pakistan take the necessary steps to make its metropolises tourism ready?Let’s find out.

Pakistani Metropolises and Potential for Tourism

According to the Pakistan Tourism Development Corporation (PTDC), around 50 million tourists are expected to travel throughout Pakistan on weekend trips this year.Most of these travelers usually head off to the northern areas of the country to soak in their natural surroundings and rejuvenate their minds in the process.Far away from the natural wonders that Pakistan has been bestowed with, most urban centres of the country are brimming with untapped tourism potential owing to a rich ancient history.

Pakistani Cities: The Golden Sparrow for Tourism

A large number of metropolises in Pakistan carry immense historical significance since most cities here share an ancient past.

A few examples of Pakistani cities which have maximum tourism potential include Lahore, Peshawar, Multan, Karachi and others.

For instance, the ancient city of Lahore is known as the cultural capital of Pakistan and has been a meeting point for people belonging to different racial and ethnic backgrounds since centuries. The city has also been a favourite among kings and paupers since time immemorial which has in effect converted the city into a culturally vibrant area.

Similarly, the city of Peshawar has a rich history where religions like Buddhism and Sikhism found an ideal nurturing ground and prospered in no time. In addition, the city itself and most areas around it are also home to unique specimens of Greco-Buddhist art, most of which cannot be found anywhere else in the world.

Pakistan also has modern urban centres like Karachi which have always supported commerce and a thriving night life, befitting of an internationally recognized metropolis. The megacity has much to offer in connection with urban tourism if the government take the required steps to promote tourism in this port city.

After experiencing years of stagnation, the tourism industry in Pakistan has once again been set into motion. As tourist activities increase in the country so is the value of real estate, especially in areas that are considered as the country’s main tourism hubs. According to online property website, Zameen.com, the property market of Pakistan has seen 118 percent growth in the last five years, which is a heartening trend for real estate industry.

Steps Needed to Make Urban Centres Tourism Ready

The government and the authorities concerned can take the following steps to make Pakistani cities more supportive of tourist activities.

Strengthening Infrastructure: Most Pakistani cities are in dire need of overhauling their infrastructure which has been bearing the brunt of an expanding population and growing vehicular traffic. A strong infrastructure will ensure that a metropolis not only looks presentable but which can support different tourism activities to keep travelers busy.

Preserving Historical Buildings and Sites: Pakistan is lucky as it has a large treasure trove of historical buildings and places scattered around in most urban centres. Unfortunately, most of these places have been left neglected by the authorities concerned which has led to deterioration of historical buildings at a fast rate. If the government and private financers join heads to renovate such buildings there is a greater chance of these areas becoming hot tourist spots. Example of historical European cities can be followed in this regard.

Promoting Tourism Agencies: Tourism has suffered for long in Pakistan due to unstable social and political conditions. The trend is changing for the better now as major tourist spots are being reopened throughout the country. The officials concerned should lend support to tourism agencies in metropolises and find out ways in which locals and foreigners alike can be taken on a trip of an entire city to see historical sites and modern developments standing side by side.

Improving Law and Order Situation: Pakistan still needs to put in more effort to be able to promote tourism in metropolises successfully. If the locals are comfortable and at peace with the overall environment, it can leave a positive impact in the mind of foreign tourists. Therefore, establishing the rule of law in major cities with the maximum tourism potential will ensure that the country can then promote tourist activities freely.

Ensuring Cleanliness:A clean environment is a must for attracting tourists to a certain area. The government and the people of Pakistan should join hands to make metropolises clean and green. Tourists usually prefer clean and beautiful locations to refresh their body and mind.

Presently, Pakistan is progressing well and its economy is improving fast. It will be wise if the government can use the stable environment to its advantage. It can start by making metropolises tourism ready by implementing some of the steps mentioned above. With luck on its side, there is no reason why Pakistan’s urban tourist potential cannot be improved to attract large numbers of foreign tourists to the country.

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The views expressed in this article are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Lahore Times.

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