Pillar 5
ICT Readiness

Key Indicator : Individuals using the internet, Broadband internet subscribers, Mobile telephone subscriptions, Mobile broadband subscriptions, 3G Mobile network coverage

In the present era of advanced scientific assistance, the use of technology has increased in every industry, including tourism. From sharing information and staying connected globally to online booking of travel and lodging, the use of technology is essential in this sector.

Pakistan currently ranks at 101 with a score of 3.6 in the T&T Development Report 2021 in ICT Readiness. To create an enabling environment, Pakistan requires widespread coverage and usage of the internet. The percentage of individuals using the internet in the country at the start of 2022 was 82.90 million, equivalent to 36.5% of the population.[107] In Pakistan, 22 million internet users increased between 2021 and 2022. In June 2022, the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority found 195 million cellular subscribers with over 88.34% teledensity. Also, 119 million of the population were broadband subscribers, with a concentration of around 53.92% and around 116 million were 3G/4G subscribers, with a concentration of around 52.55%.[108] Looking at the per 100 population, there are 0.9 broadband internet subscriptions and 29.2 mobile broadband subscriptions.[109]

Pakistan has jumped to 97th rank from 111 on Internet Network Residency Index[110]

Pakistan has jumped to 97th rank from 111 on Internet Network Residency Index which is a significant step in boosting the tourism sector

which is a significant step in boosting the tourism sector since information and communication are the key factors required to make progress.

With the introduction of Digital Policy, the previous government had launched a Digital Transformation Initiative Programme to make available digital infrastructure, which provides ease in citizen services along with other e-government programs to encourage information technology in Pakistan.[111] The Digital Pakistan Vision project had been initiated as well, which uses e-governance to encourage the inclusion of women and youth, and includes four facets aside from e-governance, mainly accessibility and connectivity, digital infrastructure, digital literacy, and innovation.[112] Moreover, the First Park of science and technology in Islamabad was also launched in 2019, as part of a goal to turn Pakistan into a knowledge economy.[113] As yet, 22 software technology parks have been established in small cities across the country.[114] Software exports have risen as a result of linkages established between local and foreign investors in ICT,[115] allowing Pakistan’s technology exports to cross $2bn for the first time ever.[116] While the Digi Skills program has provided training to over 300, 000 youth entrepreneurs.[117] Pakistan is now the fourth fastest-growing market for freelancers.[118] The government is focused on empowering the youth with digital skills and has launched an e-commerce portal[119] to help entrepreneurs grow and thrive.[120]

In addition, in 2021, the Ministry of IT and Telecommunication, through Universal Service Fund, launched a “Smart Village” project in four provinces, Islamabad and Gilgit-Baltistan. Under the project, a centre will be set up in a village and equipped with modern facilities from which the people of the area will be trained to use IT facilities and encouraged to incorporate them into their daily lives. At present, the National Information Technology Board has launched more than 30 mobile applications, government web portals, and websites related to public services.[121]

The only province which has started to use technology to promote tourism is Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP). Embracing the vision of Digital Pakistan, KP launched the first mobile application[122] on tourism for better promotion of tour destinations and facilitation of travellers.[123]

This increase in willingness to use technology for business and other services can lead Pakistan towards developing ease in the use of technology for tourist services, which will play a major role in attracting tourists from all over the world.