KARACHI: Epic is the word, British backpacker and one of the founders of the British Backpacker Society, Michael Worrall, used to describe Shandur Pass at an event on tourism in Pakistan on Saturday afternoon.
“When I visited the country back in November 2018, I saw firsthand the glorious mountain scenery that is beyond imagination, impressive historic monuments and was enchanted by the country’s hospitality,” he said, adding that it was an amazing adventure and one of the experiences he would never forget — including watching the sun rise in Hunza Valley.
Mr Worrall was one of the six backpackers speaking at an event titled ‘Realising Pakistan’s international tourism potential: why and how’, at the Institute of Business Administration’s city campus, organised by the Trade and Development Authority of Pakistan.
Enchanted by ‘glorious mountain scenery, monuments, natural beauty and culture’
Mr Worrall’s friend and co-founder of the society, Samuel Joynson, talked about the potential of tourism in Pakistan.
He said their society had ranked Pakistan as the world’s number one adventure travel destination last year — which came as a shock to many around the globe.
“After being isolated from international tourism for nearly two decades, Pakistan which has been endowed with so much
natural beauty and culture, is once again on the radar of the international tourist community,” he said during his presentation.
“I believe this community will be back before long in Pakistan and people from Karachi to Karimabad will benefit from this,” he added.
Mr Joynson, who has a background in international law and is a passionate traveller, explained that he was in the city with five other international travellers who had been to more than 150 countries in the world.
Discussing Pakistan’s tourism potential and economics, Finnish backpacker Yohanas said that tourism was a labour-intensive industry which could lead to cross-sectional and regional employment generation. He also discussed distributional demographic benefits of tourism-related employment, direct contribution to national economy and government revenue, currency inflow and infrastructure investment.
Talking about the society, Mr Joynson said that the British Backpacker Society promoted and enabled adventure travel in frontier tourism markets. “Through tourism policy consulting, public lectures and travel media, we aim to bring the developmental benefits of responsible travel to countries with untapped tourism potential,” he said, adding that they had advised developing-world governments on strategic tourism issues, ranging from visa policy to brand positioning.
They also discussed the on-arrival business and 30-day entry visa with marketing and promotional options for the local tourism industry; and cultural and social benefits of tourism.
Published in Dawn, May 5th, 2019