The tourism industry of Pakistan has been in serious strife for the last decade. Although, there has been a surge in local tourism during the recent years, however, the overall health of tourism industry remains bleak and grim. World Economic Forum has recently released a report The Travel & Tourism Competitiveness Report 2017 giving insight into the global tourism competitiveness.
Pakistan’s Position At The Global TTCI 2017
Pakistan ranks at 124 out of 136 nations on the aggregate index at the 2017 TTCI (Travel and Tourism Competitiveness Index) comparing various tourism factors. Though the global Travel and Tourism Competitiveness Index does not provide a problem solution, it does however, give a quite sound diagnosis of the issues plaguing the tourism industry in Pakistan.
Against the earlier 125th position among the 141 countries at the 2015 TTCI, there definitely is a slight improvement with the current rank. However, the tourism situation – when taken in contrast to other countries of the South Asian region – is quite grim. While being ahead of only to Bangladesh in the south Asian region, Pakistan ranks in the bottom 15 countries at the index along with the countries of the sub-Saharan Africa region.
The fourteen pillars that constitute TTCI, Pakistan does not rank among the top 100 countries in ten of them.
- 134th at human resource labor market
- 133rd at safety and security
- 133rd at environmental sustainability
- 126th at ICT readiness
- 125th at tourist service infrastructure
- 122nd at government prioritization of travel and tourism
- 120th at Natural resources
- 119th at conduciveness for business activity
- 114th at international openness
- 101st at health and hygiene
However, there are few places where Pakistan is doing better.
- 29th at price competitiveness
- 59th at cultural resources
- 59th at business travel
- 80th at ground and port infrastructure
If we compare our stats with our eastern neighbor’s, India has improved its previous ranking at the TTCI by making a huge leap to 40th rank in 2017, from the 52nd in 2015. India is way ahead of Pakistan on twelve of the TTCI’s fourteen pillars.
The pertinent point here to be highlighted is, who is in charge of tourism and what concrete steps have been taken to resolve the issue at hand. There is a pressing need to develop a national–level tourism policy that caters to the soft and hard infrastructural needs that are paramount for a modern and competitive tourism service industry.
That national policy can then become the interface of tourism related exchange throughout the world. Another down side that has surfaced through the medium of the TTCI 2017 is the Pakistan government’s inability to collect and report proper data in a coherent form, resulting in a slide of overall ranking for Pakistan.
For instance, given the depth of Pakistan’s natural assets, the country should not be ranked as low as 120th in natural resources. Similarly, the ranking of ICT is questionable, given the amount of broad bands that are ever increasing at a rapid pace.
Having a variety of tourism assets won’t cut it, robust policy implementation is required with complete government backing, both at the provincial and federal level. The hard infrastructure (transport, hotels etc.) and the soft infrastructure (focus on tourism, trained human resource etc.) is pivotal to bring an everlasting change and subsequent improvement in the overall ranking of Pakistan when it comes to travel and tourism.
The complete Travel and Tourism Competitiveness Report 2017 can be downloaded from here.