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Growing Tourism and Travel Industry in Pakistan

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.

Pakistan Hotel Occupancy Source: Express Tribune

Hotel Occupancy:

“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.

Air Travel: 

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.

Security Situation: 

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)

Terrorism-Related Deaths in Pakistan Source: South Asia Terrorism P...

Summary:

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.

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Comment by Riaz Haq on August 23, 2016 at 8:22am

How technology killed #Pakistan’s historic red light district of Heera Mandi in #Lahore

http://gulfnews.com/news/asia/pakistan/how-technology-killed-pakist...

Pakistan’s oldest red light district was for centuries a hub of traditional erotic dancers, musicians and prostitutes - Pigalle with a Mughal twist, deep in the heart of vibrant Lahore.
But as an e-commerce boom revolutionises how Pakistanis conduct the world’s oldest profession, locals say the historic Heera Mandi district is under threat.
Balconies where beautiful women once stood are now empty, while rust eats away at the locked doors of vacant rooms. The only stubborn hold-outs are shops selling instruments that once facilitated the aperitifs of music and dance.
Men now can book a rendezvous online through escort websites or even directly with women over social media, instead of searching out streetside solicitation.
With location rendered meaningless, sex workers like Reema Kanwal - who says the business “runs in my blood” - have abandoned Heera Mandi.

The district, whose name translates as “Diamond Market”, is close to the echoing, centuries-old Badshahi Mosque.
During the Mughal era, the empire that ruled most of India and Pakistan in the 15th and 16th centuries, Heera Mandi was a centre for mujra, traditional singing and dancing performed for the elites.
The wealthy even sent their sons to the salons of tawaifs, high-class courtesans that have been likened to Japanese geishas, to study etiquette.
Later, when the British came, distinctions between courtesan or mujra dancer and prostitute were blurred.
Dance and sex became intertwined, and Heera Mandi began its long slide into sordidness - but even so, Reema remembers “glorious” days.
Reema’s mother and grandmother were also prostitutes, making her part of Heera Mandi’s generations of women who danced and pleased men in the market.
“People used to respect the prostitutes of Heera Mandi, we were called artists,” she says - but all has changed over the last decade. “Now we don’t have any honour.”
She blames the loss on a rush of girls without her family background taking up the profession who have not been taught “how to treat people” the way she has.
Diamonds in the rough
Such girls, she says, need nothing to market themselves but a mobile phone, with which they can advertise on Facebook or Locanto, some offering services over Skype for as little as 300 rupees ($3).
Dozens of escort services with online bookings claim to serve thousands of clients in Karachi, Lahore and Islamabad.
In a deeply conservative Muslim country where prostitution is banned and sex outside marriage is criminalised, one website says it caters to roughly 50,000 customers.
With the old traditions falling by the wayside, girls also no longer need an entourage of musicians and teachers, say the owners of the music shops that are the final remnants of old Heera Mandi.
The intricate mujra dancing that was such a foundation of the red light district required years of teaching and live musicians. Now girls learn easy but provocative dance moves via YouTube.
“They take a USB or sometimes they don’t even need that, they have songs in their cellphones, they plug a cable and play the music,” laments Soan Ali, one of the music shop owners.
Like Reema, Ali’s family has also been in Heera Mandi for generations, and he proudly recalled his father’s “hospitality” as he attempted to lure clients for his mother.

Comment by Riaz Haq on August 23, 2016 at 2:16pm

Over 1 million visitors in Pakistan's Northern Areas this year. 

More than one million domestic as well as foreign tourists visited Northern Areas during the current season to enjoy adventure tourism.

The ratio of tourists increased by 25 percent as compared to last year due to the measures taken by the government for improved law and order situation in those areas," said Mukhtar Ali, Manager

Policy and Promotion of Pakistan Tourism Development Corporation (PTDC).

He said that Pakistan has a great potential for adventure toursism, adding that the country has the world highest mountains in knot of four great mountain ranges, the Hindu Kush, Pamir, Karakoram and the Himalayas.

He said that the country has the distinction of having five peaks above 8,000 meters each including the second loftiest mountain of K-2.

He said that the country also has the largest glaciers on the globe outside the polar region, adding that these mountains and glaciers offer a tremndous attraction for adventurers.

He said that in current season, number of domestic tourists as well as increased, adding that PTDC is planning to further streamline facilities for tourists in various destinations.

Mukhtar Ahmed said that PTDC is in consultations with provinces for devising joint strategy for improving tourism sector.

He said that about one million tourists visited the northern areas during this summer season.

He said it is a good sign that the people are visiting tourists points without security especially Naran, Ayubia, Swat, Gilgit and Skardu.

Replying to a question, he said PTDC has a chain of 39 motels and three restaurants, which are providing best facilities to the tourists.

He said,"We are providing international level boarding and lodging facilities to the visitors."

http://www.brecorder.com/pakistan/general-news/312565-tourists-rati...

Comment by Riaz Haq on November 7, 2016 at 9:47am

#Chinese consortium to launch new #airline in #Pakistan. #China #FDI #CPEC #PIA

http://nation.com.pk/national/05-Nov-2016/chinese-consortium-to-lau...

Praising the country’s economy as capable of absorbing and capitalising the direct foreign investment, the Chinese investors have expressed their interest in launching a new airline in Pakistan for which they would be discussing modalities with the Government of Pakistan.

-----

The delegation apprised the Prime Minister that they are bringing $3 billion Investment Fund to Pakistan because of the vision of the Prime Minister that focus on infrastructure development and energy sectors.

The Chinese delegation also expressed its intent to explore possibility of starting a new airline in Pakistan after the permission from the Government of Pakistan. The Chinese side said that it is actively pursuing its investments in infrastructure, power, aviation and tourism sectors of Pakistan.

“We fully appreciate the vision of Prime Minister Muhammad Nawaz Sharif which enunciates that economic prosperity is an offshoot of infrastructure connectivity and self-sufficiency in the energy sector,” the members of the delegation stated.

Comment by Riaz Haq on November 11, 2016 at 6:41pm

#Hyatt Announces Plans for 4 New Hotels in #Pakistan. #CPEC #Tourism #Karachi #Lahore #Islamabad #Rawalpindi
http://www.newschannel10.com/story/33688357/hyatt-announces-entry-i...

Expansion of Grand Hyatt and Hyatt Regency brands in Pakistan in co-operation with Bahria Town key to enhancing worldwide customer preference

CHICAGO --(BUSINESS WIRE)
Hyatt Hotels Corporation (NYSE: H) announced today plans to expand its Grand Hyatt and Hyatt Regency brands in Pakistan with the signing of management agreements by a Hyatt affiliate for four Hyatt-branded hotels: Grand Hyatt Islamabad, Hyatt Regency Karachi, Hyatt Regency Lahore, and Hyatt Regency Rawalpindi. Bahria Town, one of the largest private developers in Asia, will own the four Hyatt-branded hotels.

“We look forward to collaborating with the Bahria team to open the first Grand Hyatt and Hyatt Regency hotels in Pakistan,” said Peter Norman, senior vice president, acquisitions and development – Europe, Africa, and Middle East (EAME) and Southwest Asia for Hyatt. “Following last year’s announcement for the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), we are optimistic about the growth of Hyatt’s brands in Pakistan. The opening of these hotels will serve as a testament to the global appeal of the Grand Hyatt and Hyatt Regency brands as they continue to expand worldwide and offer more choices to our guests.”

With the announcement a Grand Hyatt and three Hyatt Regency hotels in Pakistan, Hyatt is taking another step in growing its brand footprint in the Middle East and Southwest Asia. The EAME/Southwest Asia region is a significant growth opportunity for Hyatt as the segment accounts for approximately 25 percent of the company’s executed contract rooms base. As of December 31, 2015, the Company had approximately 60 Hyatt-branded hotels under development in EAME/Southwest Asia.

Grand Hyatt Islamabad will be meticulously designed to exemplify the Grand Hyatt brand’s signature level of grandeur with an abundance of options for creating spectacular experiences. Expected to open in 2023, the hotel will offer 400 guestrooms, seven food and beverage outlets, two ballrooms, seven meeting rooms, a spa, fitness facilities, private club, and kids club. Additionally, the hotel will be the first internationally-branded golf resort in Pakistan and will have a state-of-the-art golf club house. The hotel and golf club will be easily accessible from the Murree-Islamabad Expressway, which connects directly to Islamabad's city center and diplomatic area 30 minutes away.

Hyatt Regency Karachi will offer a range of amenities, as well as spaces that will make the hotel a go-to gathering place for any occasion. The hotel will feature approximately 200 guestrooms, a lobby lounge, three-meal restaurant, and more than 17,000 square feet (1,600 square meters) of flexible meeting and event space. The hotel is expected to open in 2023.

Hyatt Regency Lahore will deliver on the modern expectations of today’s travelers and meeting planners.The hotel will feature authentic food and beverage offerings that will build off the Hyatt Regency brand’s history of culinary excellence. The hotel will serve as the perfect venue for a variety of events such as weddings, social banquets, exhibitions, meetings, and conferences. Additionally, the hotel will feature a private club offering food and beverage outlets, tennis courts and banquet facilities, among other amenities. The hotel is expected to open in 2021.

Hyatt Regency Rawalpindi will be designed to connect today’s travelers to who and what matters most to them. The 165-room hotel will offer multiple food and beverage outlets and more than 11,000 square feet (1,100 square meters) of flexible meeting and event space. The hotel is expected to open in 2022.

Comment by Riaz Haq on November 12, 2016 at 4:45pm

New Islamabad Airport will further promote the progressive image of Pakistan: PM

http://tribune.com.pk/story/1224889/briefed-pm-reviews-progress-pro...


ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on Tuesday said that the new Islamabad Airport will be an icon of excellence and will further promote the progressive image of Pakistan.

The prime minister expressed these views while chairing a meeting on Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) and aviation affairs at the PM House.

He reviewed the progress on the new airport and was apprised that all construction packages of the new airport are on track. He directed to complete the link road project from Rawalpindi to New Islamabad Airport by March 2017.

New Islamabad airport gets another deadline

The National Highway Authority was also directed to monitor the quality of work on the link road project according to the required standards. The overall performance of the national carrier during the last six months was also reviewed, while the PIA chairman gave a presentation to participants of the meeting and informed that significant increase in revenue has been registered.

Comment by Riaz Haq on November 16, 2016 at 8:05pm

PAKISTAN’S TOURISM INDUSTRY GRADUALLY RECOVERING
http://www.brecorder.com/pakistan/industries-a-sectors/328271-pakis...

With 2016 already a record year for the tourism sector in Pakistan at the local level, tourism was gradually recovering from the dark era of post September 11, 2001.

The country hopes to once again attract international tourists who had deserted it for the past 15 years, according to an articled published in "Asialyst" a Paris-based Website.

As Pakistan was one of the countries most affected by terrorism, since last year foreign travellers have been returning little by little.

In Karimabad, a small village overlooking the Hunza Valley in the Gilgit-Baltistan province of northern Pakistan, Lal Hussain, 65, looked out at the view of the river and the snow-capped peaks of the Karakoram.

It was the season when the apricot trees were in bloom and the water from the melting of the glaciers irrigated the valley.

With his son and nephews, Lal Hussain runs the Hunza Inn, one of the oldest hostels in Karimabad, established in 1980. "It's not like before," he sighed.

In the past fifteen years, Lal Hussain has lost 80% of his turnover. "Because of the foreign media, tourists have a biased image of Pakistan and are afraid to visit the region," he said.

Seated around the large common table of the Hunza Inn, however, were some Chinese tourists who had ventured into the Pakistani mountains, and Fabrizio, an Italian from Rome.

After travelling extensively in India, Fabrizio was discovering the country for the first time. "It's true that my family was afraid when I told them I was leaving for Pakistan," he said. "But in reality, we don't feel any danger here at all, there is no problem."

He said he intended to hike, relax and visit the region.

Fabrizio was the only European in the village.

Twenty years ago, Karimabad was the gateway for all foreign backpackers and trekkers, said Lal Hussain. "In summer, the high season, we even had to refuse people," he added.

Gilgit-Baltistan region is a paradise for mountaineers.

Located at the junction of the Hindu Kush and Karakoram ranges, between India, China and Afghanistan, it is home to five out of fourteen mountain peaks in the world that are over 8,000 metres high, including the mythical K2.

The hippie trail and the golden age of tourism in Pakistan Lal Hussain's story is one of a flourishing industry that collapsed. Now, it is gradually reviving.

In 2015, Pakistan attracted 5,634 foreign tourists. According to the biennial report of the World Economic Forum, Pakistan ranks 125th in the world in terms of foreign tourists.

From Sindh, with its sandy beaches, to Punjab and its palaces, from the old city of Lahore to the heights of the Himalayas, not to mention the Cholistan desert, the "Country of the Pure" possesses all the trump cards it needs to attract travellers from all over the world, the articled noted.

Comment by Riaz Haq on November 19, 2016 at 10:46am

Pakistan can become a well known destination for leisure tourism
http://www.pakistantoday.com.pk/2016/11/13/city/pakistan-can-become...

Clifton Beach is the most popular beach among domestic tourists and most of the locals are not even aware of any beach other than Clifton beach.

Talking to APP, Managing Director Abdul Ghafoor said Clifton Beach is very close to Karachi city and famous for camel and buggy ridings and for family picnics, yet there were other beautiful beaches in the country that tourists ought to know of.

Hawke’s Bay is less crowded with clearer water –leisure seekers and holiday makers may rent a hut to spend a weekend there.

Sandspit Beach is good for swimming and sun bathing -the water there flows through an unusual rocky formation.

French Beach is one of the most beautiful beaches around Karachi -with clearer water and fresh air- is a rocky beach, he said.

Paradise Point beach is good for family picnics and camel or horse riding – there is a natural rock formation that looks like a carved archway, which is an amazing point to enjoy the sea view.

Devil’s Point beach is a good point to have some silent and peaceful time away from the city hustle and bustle.

Kund Malir Beach, a desert beach is a nice drive on Coastal Highway to Balochistan – the area belongs to Hingol Park, and is situated just 145 km from zero point.

Gadani Beach is one of the beautiful beaches of Pakistan it is commonly known a harbor for ship breaking.

Gwadar Beach is one of the most beautiful beaches of Balochistan with most clearer and in emerald color waters located in Arabian Sea he said.

Pasni Beach is commonly famous for its fishing harbor – one can have a good camping experience there.

West Bay Beach is located in Gwadar – the beach is going to be developed for future leisure tourism, added Abdul Ghafoor.

Comment by Riaz Haq on January 31, 2017 at 6:34pm

New #Islamabad international #airport to be ready for operation by July 2017. #Pakistan http://www.pakistantoday.com.pk/2017/01/31/new-islamabad-airport-to... … via @epakistantoday

The New Islamabad Airport in Islamabad will be ready for operations by late July.

Around 95pc work on the New, Islamabad International Airport has been completed and the remaining would be done by March 2017.

The facility will then be inaugurated by the prime minister on August 14.

During a high-level meeting to review progress on the new Islamabad Airport and its allied infrastructure at the PM House in Islamabad with officials of the Aviation Division, National Highway Authority (NHA), Islamabad Mayor, and other officials, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif stated that infrastructure projects were the backbone of our economy and essential for the public.

The premier was informed that the new airport would have a capacity to handle 4,500 passengers at a time with 15 parking bays and terminal gates. Moreover, the airport would be able to accommodate two A-380 aircraft would be able to dock simultaneously. Further, the new airport would have state-of-the-art facilities such as cargo handling, safety and security, passenger facilitation and parking services.

With regards to allied infrastructure for the new airport, the NHA chairman said that the facility would be serviced through two main access road leading off from the M-1 and M-2 motorways. It would also have a road leading from the main GT Road (N-5).

Moreover, the airport can also be accessed through the Islamabad Metro from the Golra Mor. The PM will also inaugurate the new metro link along with the airport on August 14. Nawaz directed that no compromise should be made on the quality of work on the airport, access roads or the Metro Bus link. The prime minister was further informed that work on the new terminal at the Allama Iqbal International Airport in Lahore is expected to commence in March 2017.

Comment by Riaz Haq on April 11, 2017 at 10:14pm

Upsurge in the influx of tourists
The Pakistani economy was able to generate approximately $1 billion in revenue because of the 1,040,000 international tourists who arrived in 2015. This tourist figure is projected to reach 1.7 million by the year 2025. This will, in turn, help Pakistan to be the world’s fastest-growing Muslim economy ahead of Indonesia, Malaysia, Turkey and Egypt by 2017.

Improvement in employment rate
In the midst of an increase in tourism and better security conditions of the country, the number of people employed directly by the hospitality industry reached 1,429,500 in 2015. The employment rate is projected to increase by 2.1% per annum over the next 10 years.

Increase in investment
Due to the sheer beauty in Pakistan, the investment which this particular sector received in the year 2015 was USD 3272 million which made up 9.3% of the total investment done in the country. Over the next ten years, this investment rate is forecasted to rise by 7.6% pa over the next ten years. Due to the ongoing CPEC mega project whose main highlight is the Gawadar city, a huge chunk of this investment is allocated to the construction of ten hotels in this city which can in turn boost tourism in the area.

https://en.dailypakistan.com.pk/business/state-of-pakistans-travel-...

Comment by Riaz Haq on May 15, 2017 at 4:36pm

Exclusive: CPEC master plan revealed

https://www.dawn.com/news/1333101

One of the most intriguing chapters in the plan is the one that talks about the development of a “coastal tourism” industry. It speaks of a long belt of coastal enjoyment industry that includes yacht wharfs, cruise homeports, nightlife, city parks, public squares, theaters, golf courses and spas, hot spring hotels and water sports. The belt will run from Keti Bunder to Jiwani, the last habitation before the Iranian border. Then, somewhat disappointingly, it adds that “more work needs to be done” before this vision can be realized.

The plans are laid out in surprising detail. For instance, Gwadar will feature international cruise clubs that “provide marine tourists private rooms that would feel as though they were ‘living in the ocean’”. And just as the feeling sinks in, it goes on to say that “[f]or the development of coastal vacation products, Islamic culture, historical culture, folk culture and marine culture shall all be integrated.” Apparently more work needs to be done here too.

For Ormara, the plan recommends building “unique recreational activities” that would also encourage “the natural, exciting, participatory, sultry, and tempting characteristics” to come through. For Keti Bunder it recommends wildlife sanctuaries, an aquarium and a botanical garden. For Sonmiani, on the eastern edge of Karachi, “projects like a coastal beach, extended greenway, coastal villa, car camp, SPA, beach playground and a seafood street can be developed.”

It is an expansive vision that the plan lays out, and towards the end, it asks for the following: “Make the visa-free tourism possible with China to provide more convenient policy support for Chinese tourists to Pakistan.” There is no mention of a reciprocal arrangement for Pakistani nationals visiting China.

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