ISLAMABAD, Feb 11 (APP):President Dr Arif Alvi Tuesday invited the American Business Council (ABC) of Pakistan to take advantage of Pakistan’s virgin territory particularly the huge hotel and tourism industries of its scenic northern parts.

Speaking at American Business Council dinner reception here, the president said after improvement in the security situation and ease of doing business by the government, Pakistan was good for all kind of businesses and its tourism industry had a great potential.

The president said huge influx of tourists were witnessed last year in Northern parts of the country, adding that in 2014 15,000 to 20,000 tourists visited northern areas of Pakistan while in 2019 the number of tourists increased to two million, which showed people were thronging to these beautiful places despite lack of resources and infrastructure.

The president said Pakistan was a virgin territory because of the security situation and now it was opening up as a beautiful Iceland of hospitality.

The president said American Business Council had been working in Pakistan for the last 36 years and it had contributed in the country’s economy. He said there was a good relationship between Prime Minister Imran Khan and the US President Donald Trump, adding the US President wanted to build stronger economic and trade ties with Pakistan which would benefit both the countries.

But, the president said, the capacity of Pakistani businessmen would have to be improved to increase Pakistan’s exports to the US in order to take advantage of improvement in trade ties between Pakistan and USA.

US Ambassador to Pakistan Paul Jones, who is also President of the American Business Council of Pakistan while speaking on the occasion said the commerce and trade relationships between Pakistan and the United States of America was really a great unsung story.

He said the USA was by more than double Pakistan’s largest exports market, adding that the US was long term trading investor in Pakistan and was among top five investors here in Pakistan.

He said “We are proud of our relationships with Pakistan, adding that leadership of both the countries were also interested to bring further improvement in this relationship.

He said the representative of American Business Council companies were the best allies in promoting business and investment here. He said these companies would bring more companies here to invest.

Earlier, President of American Business Council, Adnan Asad in his welcome address said the American Business Council companies had provided 1,30,000 direct jobs to Pakistanis while over a million people were provided indirect jobs.

He said they contributed Rs 900 million to the national exchequer while Rs 106 billion in taxes to Pakistan. He said ease of travel advisory by the US government would play a long way in tourism sector and open up avenues to US companies to come here.

He said the US companies wanted to develop business relationship with Pakistan.

Advisor to the Prime Minister on Finance Dr Abdul Hafiz Shaikh, Advisor on Trade Abdul Razak Dawood, Chairman Kashmir Committee Sayed Fakhar imam, Parliamentarian and businessmen also attended the dinner reception.