Onsite: Pakistan Gets Serious About Tourism Promotion

Onsite: Pakistan Gets Serious About Tourism PromotionPakistan's Prime Minister, Shaukat Aziz, addressed a ballroom full of politicians, diplomats, tourism officials and press, including Travel Agent, on Thursday in New York City to announce Visit Pakistan Year 2007, a multi-country tourism marketing campaign. The Prime Minister discussed the country's attributes, including: some of the highest mountains in the world, which attract trekkers; a link to ancient civilizations, Alexander the Great and the Silk Route; wildlife, including snow leopards (one of which is on display at the Bronx Zoo). He also noted that Pakistan recognizes pilgrim tourism, as the country has the origins of Buddhism, and monasteries that especially draw Asian Buddhists; and it also has Sikh relics that followers of that religion travel to see. He said that the country is "working hard to build an infrastructure" to support tourism, citing Islamabad's airport construction, newly acquired Boeing 777s flying directly from JFK, and country-wide hotel development, including the conversion of old forts into boutique hotels. The country is developing travel packages to encourage people of Pakistani heritage living overseas to come with their families and connect to their roots. Political situations that might cause travelers pause were not addressed during the course of the evening, at which Pakistan's Minister of Tourism and Ambassador to the U.S. were also present.