ISLAMABAD: The Pakistan Tourism Development Corporation (PTDC) and the World Bank (WB) jointly organised a workshop on National Tourism Competitiveness Index (NTCI) for Pakistan here on Monday.

The establishment of NTCI and an action plan for achieving the NTCI indicators could contribute positively towards improvement in Pakistan’s ranking on the ITCI.

Work on NTCI’s development has so far involved consultations with the relevant public and private sector entities and the workshop presented the proposed NTCI framework to the participants. The participants also discussed the roles and responsibilities of various stakeholders to ensure the implementation of NTCI and associated action plan.

Speaking on the occasion, PTDC Managing Director Aftabur Rehman Rana reaffirmed government’s commitment towards enhancement of sustainable tourism development and said: “PTDC’s collaboration with the World Bank on developing NTCI will allow the government to collect, monitor and report valuable data which will strengthen the tourism sector’s ability to show evidence backed progress while enabling the authorities to make informed policy decisions”.

World Bank Operations Manager Gailius Draugelis said the bank’s partnership with the government on the index will help realise our collective vision of making Pakistan a destination of choice for tourists from around the world while offering diverse tourism experiences to the domestic travelers.

Practice Manager of World Bank’s Finance and Competitiveness Global Practice Gabi Afram said the bank will continue its support to strengthen tourism sector planning, product offering and resilience of the value chains through its ongoing investment project financing in Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

Tourism remains a priority sector for the government and is identified as one of the key drivers of economic growth. It is estimated that investments in travel and tourism sector can generate over half a million new direct and induced jobs over the next five years across the country.

Pakistan currently ranks 121st out of 140 economies in the 2019 ‘International Tourism Competitiveness Index’ (ITCI) of the World Economic Forum (WEF). Going forward, the country aspires to improve its ranking considering the strides that Pakistan’s tourism industry has taken in recent years to improve tourism infrastructure and connectivity, tourist safety and overall hospitality industry standards.

There has been renewed interest by the international investors in Pakistan’s tourism and hospitality sector due to the uptick in domestic tourism accompanied by improvements in regulatory and policy framework.

In order for the country to develop and manage destinations, preserve its heritage and promote responsible tourism, the centre and provinces need to partner with academia and private sector.

Published in Dawn,May 24th, 2022

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