Pakistan's travel and tourism industry is booming with significant improvement in security situation. In 2015, it contributed 7% of Pakistan's GDP. It includes foreign and domestic travel and tourism spending or employment in the equivalent economy-wide concept in the published national income accounts or labour market statistics.
There are are multiple indicators showing this industry will contribute more this year. Growth in air travel and hotel occupancy are among the top indicators of travel and travel and tourism industry growth.
“The rate of hotel occupancy has surged to 80% across the country compared to 35% before the current calendar year started,” said Beach Luxury Hotel Director Business Development Rehan Wahid, according to report in the Express Tribune newspaper. “Hotels in Islamabad and Lahore are fully booked most of the days. However, this is yet to happen in Karachi,” he said.
Thanks to the ramp-up of China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) related projects, Gwadar is leading the way for new hotel construction with permits issued for least 5 new 5-star hotels so far in the new port city. These include a 250-room hotel apartment project of the management of Pearl Continental Hotels and another one of the Bahria Group. Gwadar Airport growth of 73% was the fastest of all airports in Pakistan.
Pakistan air travel market is among the fastest growing in the world. IATA (International Air Transport Association) forecasts Pakistan domestic air travel will grow at least 9.5% per year, more than 2X faster than the world average annual growth rate of 4.1% over the next 20 years. The Indian and Brazilian domestic markets will grow at 6.9% and 5.4% respectively.
Pakistan saw 23% growth in airline passengers in 2015, according to Anna Aero publication. Several new airports began operations or expanded and each saw double digit growth in passengers. However, Gwadar Airport growth of 73% was the fastest of all airports in Pakistan.
The top 12 airports all saw large double digit increases. Multan grew 64%, Quetta 62% and Faisalabad +61% all climbing one place as a result of all of them seeing a growth of over 60%. Turbat Airport in Balochistan is the newest airport to reach the top 12 in terms of traffic.
The key reason for travel and tourism boom is significant improvement in the security situation since the launch of Pakistan Army anti-terror campaign called Zarb-e-Azb. Civilian deaths have been cut from 2,378 in 2011 to 412 this year until August 14, 2016. Total number of deaths, including civilians and security personnel, have been reduced from 11,704 in 2009 to 1232 so far in 2016, according to South Asia Terrorism Portal (SATP.org)
Hotel occupancy rates have risen from just 35% in 2015 to 80% this year. Air travel is growing rapidly with IATA forecasting Pakistan to be among the world's fastest growing air travel markets. All airports in the country, including several new ones, are seeing double digit increases in the number of passengers flying in and out of them. Improved security since the start of Operation Zarb e Azb and political stability are underpinning growing confidence in Pakistan.