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BEIJING, Oct 18 (APP): Pakistan is rich in natural resources and has many favorable conditions for the development of eco-tourism.

From the precipitous peaks of the Karakoram Range to the rich Indus Plain, Pakistan has incredible landscape, geography and biodiversity with many physiognomies such as plateau, plain, wetland and ocean, etc, providing a variety of choices for global eco-tourists, Cheng Xizhong, a visiting professor at Southwest University of Political Science and Law said on Sunday.

Prime Minister Imran Khan has recently put forward a very important concept on the development of tourism, that is, the promotion of eco-friendly tourism. “I strongly believe that Pakistan has great potential to develop eco-tourism,” Cheng, also a senior fellow of the Charhar Institute commented in his article published by China Economic Net (CEN).

According to the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC), in 2019, the contribution rate of tourism industry to Pakistan’s GDP was 5.9%, creating 3.9 million jobs.

According to my calculation, if Pakistan’s tourism industry develops to the level of China, its contribution rate to Pakistan’s GDP will increase by 5.1% to 11%, and additional 2.37 million jobs will be created.

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I also believe that with development of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), improvement of the infrastructure and the security situation, and especially when the novel coronavirus pneumonia is effectively controlled, Pakistan’s eco-tourism will definitely develop greatly in the days to come,he said.

As for how to further promote and develop eco-tourism, he offered three suggestions for consideration of our Pakistan friends.

First, Pakistan’s tourism industry is now at the participation stage of the development life cycle of tourist destinations, so a good job should be done in market segmentation and attraction of foreign adventure tourists.

Second, Pakistan’s security situation has gradually improved in recent years. The Pakistani government should consolidate its achievements in fighting terrorism and maintaining stability. In particular, Pakistan’s security agencies should further strengthen the security protection of foreign projects and personnel, so as to give foreign tourists a strong sense of safety.

Third, resolute measures should be taken to control the spread of the second wave of COVID-19. Novel coronavirus pneumonia is a serious disaster in South Asia. Now, more than 7.45 million confirmed cases have been diagnosed in India, and the death toll has exceeded 110 thousand.

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The number of confirmed cases will soon surpass that of the United States and India will become the most serious pandemic country in the world. Obviously, India has completely failed to control the pandemic. Bangladesh, with a population of 160 million, has more than 380,000 confirmed cases with nearly 6000 deaths. Nepal, with a population of only 27 million, has nearly 130,000 confirmed cases.

By contrast, Pakistan’s prevention and control measures are very strong and effective. Especially with the implementation of smart lockdown and standard operating procedures (SOP), Pakistan has successfully managed to control the spread of COVID-19.

The pandemic has a fatal impact on the tourism industry. Therefore, the government of Pakistan should continue to take resolute and effective measures to prevent the new wave of pandemic spread.