Tourism in Pakistan
Tourism in Pakistan is a growing industry. In 2010, Lonely Planet termed Pakistan as being “…tourism’s ‘next big thing’ for more years than we care to remember. [But] world media headlines [always] send things off the rails”. The country is geographically and ethnically diverse, and has a number of historical and cultural heritage sites. The upsurge in tourism in the past few years has been aided by the Government of Pakistan’s recent decision to end mandatory No Objection Certificates for foreign tourists seeking to visit certain parts of the country.
In 2018, the British Backpacker Society ranked Pakistan as the world’s top adventure travel destination, describing the country as “one of the friendliest countries on earth, with mountain scenery that is beyond anyone’s wildest imagination.” Forbes ranked Pakistan as one of the ‘coolest places’ to visit in 2019. The World Economic Forum’s Travel & Tourism Competitiveness Report placed Pakistan in the top 25 per cent of global destinations for its World Heritage sites, which range from the mangroves in the Indus delta, to the Indus Valley Civilization sites including Mohenjo-daro and Harappa.
According to the Travel and Tourism Competitiveness Report 2017 released by the World Economic Forum, the direct contribution of travel and tourism to Pakistan’s GDP in 2015 was US$328.3 million, constituting 2.8% of the total GDP. According to the World Travel and Tourism Council, the direct contribution of travel and tourism to Pakistan’s GDP in 2016 was US$7.6 billion (PKR 793.0 billion), constituting 2.7% of the total GDP. By 2025, the government predicts tourism will contribute ₨1 trillion (US$7.1 billion) to the Pakistani economy.
In October 2006, one year after the 2005 Kashmir earthquake, The Guardian released what it described as “the top five tourist sites in Pakistan” to help the country’s tourism industry. The sites included Lahore, the Karakoram Highway, Karimabad and Lake Saiful Muluk. To promote the country’s unique cultural heritage, Pakistan launched the “Visit Pakistan” marketing campaign in 2007. This campaign involved events throughout the year including fairs and religious festivals, regional sporting events, arts and craft shows, folk festivals and openings of historical museums.
In 2013, 565,212 tourists visited Pakistan contributing only $298 million, which has risen to over 1.9 million tourists in 2018. By comparison, Pakistan’s domestic tourism industry is estimated at 50 million tourists who travel in the country on short trips usually between May to August. The largest tourism inflow of tourists are from the United Kingdom, followed by United States, India and China.
1 Overview 2 Tourist visas 3 Tourism by province and territory 3.1 Gilgit Baltistan 3.2 Balochistan 3.3 Khyber Pakhtunkhwa 3.4 Punjab 3.5 Sindh 3.6 Azad Jammu and Kashmir 3.7 Islamabad Capital Territory 4 UNESCO World Heritage Sites 4.1 Tentative list 4.2 Other landmarks 5 Infrastructure and the economy 5.1 Pakistan Tourism Development Corporation 6 List of tourist regions and sites 6.1 Ski resorts and areas 6.2 Valleys 6.3 Lakes 6.4 Waterfalls 7 Data 7.1 Arrivals by year 7.1.1 1990s 7.1.2 2000s 7.1.3 2010s 8 See also 9 References 10 Further reading 11 External links