In an unprecedented development, Government of Pakistan is considering removing visa restrictions for 55 countries. Abdul Razak Dawood, Adviser to the Prime Minister for Commerce and Investment, issued the statement on Tuesday, that Pakistan is considering allowing visa on arrival for 55 countries.
While addressing a press conference the PM adviser shared that the move is means to contribute to the national economy by means of tourism. Dawood confirmed that a policy was being developed and it would be presented to Prime Minister Imran Khan by next month, January.
Indicating the Government’s serious resolve over the matter Dawood stated:
“We will also consult the country’s security institutions regarding the matter.”
Dawood also added that Pakistan needs tourism and that the government would do whatever is in the interest of the country.
Tourism is one of the biggest revenue streams for countries with as rich geography, cultural diversity and historical significance as that of Pakistan. Neighbouring India attracts 8.8 million foreign tourists annually. As per the latest The Travel & Tourism Competitiveness Report by World Economic Forum, Pakistan ranks at 124 out of 136 nations on the aggregate index at the 2017 TTCI (Travel and Tourism Competitiveness Index).
According to the data, by September 2017, Tourism had contributed to 6.9% of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of Pakistan which amounts to $19.4 billion, and as per the estimates provided by the World Travel and Tourism Council, the figure is expected to rise up to $36.1 million in the coming decade.
It is notable that in January this year, Pakistan had announced to allow visa on arrival facility for tourist groups from 24 countries which also include the US and UK. In a similar development, in November 2018, Pakistan and Malaysia had signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on Partial Abolition on Visa Requirement. The purpose of the move was to reinforce the momentum in the bilateral relationship by facilitating contact at the officials’ level between the two countries.
This may be of interest to our readers that Pakistan Tourism Development Corporation (PTDC) has already been looking forward to launch a special Police force based on Thailand’s model for the safety and protection of tourists.
The visa on arrival decision, if implemented, can greatly impact the economy of the country by causing an environment of convenient tourism.