SWAT: Speakers at a training session here on Sunday said that tourism industry was badly affected by the Covid-19 pandemic during the five-month lockdown in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.
The training session and awareness campaign on standard operating procedure for tourism was organised by directorate of tourism services. The director general of the directorate, Ghulam Saeed, the general manager of tourism corporation, Sajjad Hameed, officials of district administration, Rescue 1122, police and Levies, hotel owners and managers attended the session.
Trainer of the session Dr Ziaullah said that tourism industry was the backbone of Swat’s economy. “Tourism and hospitality sector is one of the most important not only for Swat but for the entire province. Unfortunately, during the Covid-19 pandemic the sector received heavy losses,” he added.
He said that about 56,000 people lost jobs owing to closure of tourism industry in the province. He said that government reopened the tourism industry and now it was the reasonability of tourists as well as hotel staff to follow the guidelines and SOPs to stop spread of Covid-19.
Haji Zahid Khan, the president of All Swat Hotel Association, said that tourism industry received heavy losses during the past few years. “We received huge losses first during the militancy, then during the floods and now due to the pandemic. Hotel owners suffered Rs7 billion losses and more than 25,000 families were affected owing to closure of hotels,” he added.
that the government must come up with financial solution and other benefits to the hotel industry.
Ghulam Saeed Khan said that promotion of tourism was top priority of the government for which several projects were initiated. “To promote tourism in a true sense, the government has launched Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Integrated Tourism Development Project. Apart from that several other schemes have been launched to explore new tourist sites in KP,” he added.
He said that government assessed losses of hotel industry during the lockdown. “Initially, hotel and restaurant owners, travel and tourism agents will be compensated in different means,” he said, adding that matching grants would be awarded to them against their losses through Smeda.
Published in Dawn, August 24th, 2020