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ISLAMABAD, Sep 27 (APP): President Dr Arif Alvi has said that promotion of tourist activities in rural areas could help in increasing the volume of national economy and putting the country on the road to prosperity and development.

“The sector is not just a leading source of employment, particularly for different segments of rural society especially for youth and women but also provides opportunities for regional integration and socio-economic inclusion for the most remote areas,” he said in a message on ‘World Tourism Day’ being observed on September 27.

The president said that it was a matter of great pleasure that Pakistan was joining hands with the rest of the world to celebrate the Day.  The day is being celebrated every year under the patronage of the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), to foster awareness in the international community regarding the impact of tourism on society, culture and economic growth of a country.

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This year, the theme is “Tourism and Rural Development”.  The president said for a country like Pakistan where majority of the population was still living in rural areas, tourism could have a significant contribution in socio-economic development.

The rural communities of Pakistan offered a unique natural and cultural heritage. They also extended hospitality to the visitors including foreigners and Pakistani nationals, he added.

“It is a matter of great satisfaction for me that the federal and provincial governments are taking collective measures for development of tourist sites and promotion of tourism and all these efforts will contribute in transforming the tourism industry to become a major sector of national economy in the near future,” he said.

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The president further said Pakistan provided an opportunity to the tourists to have firsthand experience of the natural sights, ancient civilizations and diversity of landscape.

“Pakistan is blessed with tremendous potential and the entire country has a variety of terrains, mountains, fauna and flora, combined with a rich blend of socio-cultural diversity,” he observed.

On the occasion of World Tourism Day 2020, the president also extended his felicitations to UNWTO, National Tourism Coordination Board, Pakistan Tourism Development Corporation and all other stakeholders from the public and private sectors for making dedicated and extraordinary efforts for promotion of tourism at the global, regional and national levels.