Pillar 6
Prioritisation of Travel and Tourism

Key Indicator : T&T government expenditure, Comprehensiveness of annual T&T data, Timeliness of providing monthly/quarterly T&T data, Country brand strategy rating

To what degree the government is funding tourism, marketing, and providing complete and timely data to international organisations indicates the priority placed by a country on its tourism sector.[124] Presently, in this pillar, Pakistan ranks at 99 with a 3.3 value in the T&T Development Report 2021.

The country has experienced a yearly average growth rate of 6.12% from 1995 to 2028.[125] The government expenditure on travel and tourism was US$ 0.10 billion in 2018.[126] Pakistan lacks annual comprehensive data as well as provision of timely (monthly or quarterly) data for this industry which has greatly affected the progress of tourism. According to United Nations World Tourism Organization’s (UNWTO) 2019 Compendium edition, with data up to 31 December 2018, figures for Pakistan are not available.[127] For 2019-20, the country brand strategy rating is BBB – Very Good for Pakistan, signifying that the country is focusing on the strategic and promotional placing of the highest demanded brand tags connected to tourism.[128]

Pakistan lacks annual comprehensive data as well as provision of timely (monthly or quarterly) data for this industry which has greatly affected the progress of tourism.

The previous government brought radical changes to the tourism industry to improve the country’s international image and raise its direct contribution to GDP.[129] The government allocated PKR 2 billion for Clean Green Pakistan Movement/Tourism in the 2019-20 budget[130] and created a PKR 1 billion tourism endowment fund to spend on related activities such as marketing and research.[131] However, the government has significantly raised the allocated budget for Phase I scaling up of the Green Pakistan programme, to PKR 14 bn in 2021-22.[132]

A task force was established on tourism which has developed a national framework to improve federal and provincial coordination to lift the industry with the support of the private sector.[133] In 2020, PTDC[134] developed a National Tourism Strategy (NTS) 2021-2030 and Action Plan 2021-2025 to advance the tourism industry in Pakistan.[135] The NTS will improve the industry’s development and ensure that Pakistan’s natural, historical, cultural, and geographical resources are properly utilised. The strategy’s key features are “sustainable economic growth, job creation, poverty alleviation, tourist security and safety, efficient transportation services, comfortable and sanitary lodging and restaurants, value shopping, efficient telecommunication services, and access to quality health services”.[136]

Looking to promote Pakistan as “Asia’s Best Kept Secret”,[137] the government has been on the frontlines to improve the country’s international image and its global position as a tourist destination under the marketing campaign, “Brand Pakistan”.[138] This has put Pakistan on the world’s tourist map. Forbes included Pakistan among the top ten coolest places to visit in 2019,[139] the British Backpackers Society listed Pakistan as the world’s third-highest potential adventure destination for 2020,[140] and the Conde′ Nast Traveller magazine ranked Pakistan as a top holiday destination for 2020.[141] In addition, the country also received a visit from Prince William and Kate Middleton in late 2019.[142]

Moreover, the government launched Pakistan’s first and only tourism-focused satellite TV channel in early 2021 to share the country’s tourism potential, locally and internationally.[143]

Various conventions were also held across Pakistan in 2019, such as Pakistan Tourism Summit, Tourism Dialogue, The Pakistan Travel Mart, as well as Pakistan Hospitality Show, to raise awareness, prospects, and promotion of public-private collaborations in the tourism sector.[144] Although a long way to go, the government of Pakistan is on the path to reviving tourism which will allow for advancement in a multitude of areas in the tourism sector.