NTCB to set up endowment fund soon for tourism marketing: Zulfi Bukhari

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ISLAMABAD, March 24 (APP):Special Assistant to Prime Minister on Overseas Pakistanis, Sayed Zulfikar Abbas Bukhari on Sunday said, the federal government was planning to set up an endowment fund with the collaboration of all the provinces to market their tourist attractions.
The special assistant who also holds the office of Chairman National Tourism Coordination Board (NTCB) said, all the stakeholders were unanimous over the idea of retaining foreign tourists’ confidence through destination branding.
The decision was taken during the first meeting of the board conducted to formulate a permanent policy required to enable sustainable growth of tourism sector, the chairman NTCB said in an exclusive talk with APP.
NTCB was recently constituted by the federal government with an aim to promote the pluralistic image of country across the globe and synchronize all the regional tourism departments since the tourism was a provincial subject after 18th amendment.
“Effective branding, building the country’s soft image and strong provincial coordination are vital to flourish the tourism industry,” Zulfikar Bukhari remarked while highlighting the multi-pronged strategy of the board to address challenges being faced by this sector.
Outlining the board’s short and long term plans, he said first and foremost priority of the NTCB was to bolster the domestic tourism by engaging the locals in this development process.
Secondly, the branding of tourist destination would also be launched, adding, “This is the crucial component of NTCB’s strategy to lure the foreign tourists”.
He said the NTCB would also work out various initiatives to create tourist-friendly environment in the country and ensure provision of quality services to the travelers and tourists.
The Law Enforcement Agencies would also be taken on board to provide the tourists foolproof security during their stay here.
The development of infrastructure was also imperative to increase tourist activities in the country and the board would only facilitate the provinces in this regard, Zulfikar Bukhari added.
To a query, he said protection of environment, culture and heritage would also be ensured as the provincial authorities had been asked to strictly follow government’s guideline in this regard.
The chairman said the board had decided in its recent meeting to devise a strategy which could help convince other countries to review their travel advisories, previously issued for the tourists intending to tour Pakistan.
The marketing task force, set up under NTCB, was also asked to project attractive and scenic sites in the targeted countries through promotional campaigns on social media, Zulfikar Bukhari informed.
He said Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf led government had changed the country’s visa policy and eased the restrictions for visitors to reconnect it with the world. Potentially restarting of tourism industry was the corner stone of his government’s policy, he reiterated.
The chairman hoped that the extension in visa on arrival facility to 155 countries, which was limited to only 24 countries in the past, had given a clear message to the world that the country had opened up to the investors, businessmen and tourists, he added.
Zulfikar Bukhari said the International organizations would also be made the part of tourism task force to foster a strong relationship with them which would also help build the country’s positive image abroad, he added.
Terming the Overseas Pakistanis true ambassador of Pakistan, he said, his ministry would also involve them for launching an awareness campaign to promote the tourism in various countries.