ISLAMABAD-The federal government has decided to set up a tourism facilitation centre and Aiwan-e-Sayahat in the capital city to facilitate and sensitise local as well as foreign tourists about the country’s diverse tourism potential.

The government has allocated Rs160 million in the Public Sector Development Programme for 2019-20 to promote tourism and market tourist resorts at national and International level, Chairman National Tourism Coordination Board Sayed Zulfikar Abbas Bukhari said on Sunday. He said that the development work would be started soon after feasibility study of ‘Aiwan-e-Sayahat’, for which the government has allocated Rs40 million while the rest will be spent for branding of Pakistan abroad, he added.

The offices of NTCB and Pakistan Tourism Development Corporation (PTDC) will also be put under the umbrella of the Aiwan-e-Sayahat for better coordination among the relevant entities, he said. He pointed out that collaboration among both institutions was mandatory as PTDC and NTCB were tasked with major responsibility of marketing the country’s historical, cultural, religion and adventurous tourism, besides the ethereal beauty offered by its northern areas.

Zulfikar Bukhari said that the government was striving to improve Infrastructure support system across the country as tourist influx had increased in recent days due to the new visa policy launched by the government recently to ease visa restriction for tourists, he added.

The TFC would be established at F-6 sector of Islamabad to provide tourist friendly facilities wherein the tourist operators and guides would also help the tourists to shape their travelling plans. PTDC Managing Director Sayed Intikhab Alam said that the idea of Aiwan-e-Sayahat was floated some 8 years ago but could not see the light of the day due to blithe attitude of previous regimes towards tourism. The incumbent government is putting the tourism sector on priority giving it the due seriousness, he added. Intikhab said that the Aiwan-e-Sayahat would comprise of more than five floors.

To a query, he said that a massive promotional campaign for tourism promotion would also be launched across the world besides an International conference to be held on the subject. Promotional songs, videos and competition also mark the government’s tourism promotional strategy, he added.