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ISLAMABAD: Pakistan will host an all important Global Tourism Forum next year and a tourism summit of D-8 countries in the year 2022, Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Overseas Pakistanis and Human Resource Development Zulfiqar Bukhari announced on Sunday.

Addressing a press conference here, the SAPM, who is commonly known as Zulfi Bukhari, said the present federal government is taking active steps to promote tourism in line with the vision of Prime Minister Imran Khan.

"Tourism is one of the top priorities of our government and it is part of the vision of Prime Minister Imran to take every possible step to promote tourism in Pakistan. We will leave no stone unturned in this regard," he said.

Bukhari, who is also the Chairman Pakistan Tourism Development Corporation (PTDC), said that Pakistan will host the Global Tourism Forum in 2021 and a tourism summit of D-8 countries in 2022, which is part of the federal government's efforts to sensitize the international community about remarkable prospects of tourism in Pakistan. "Pakistan has great potential in tourism sector most of which has been unrealised. Under the leadership of Imran Khan, we are out to fully realize this potential," he said.

The formulation of a five-year action plan is a part of the federal government's 10-year policy to promote tourism, he said.

The launch of a national portal is also a part of the government's efforts to promote tourism in the country, he added.

Regarding the federal government's decision to close all the motels of PTDC and terminate all employees in the northern belt, Bukhari said the PTDC faced a loss of Rs 700 millions in recent years. He blamed the previous governments for crippling PTDC. "Political intervention has wreaked havoc on PTDC. Something has to be done to save PTDC from losses and put its house in order," he said.

"Let me assure you, all the measures taken with regard to PTDC are in the best interest of this organisation and the country," Bukhari said.

The PTDC will function under the administrative ambit of National Tourism Coordination Board (NTCB), he said.

The PTDC employees who were removed from jobs were offered a "lucrative golden handshake" in order to support them financially, he said.

Bukhari denied that the federal government was going to privatize Roosevelt Hotel in New York but said that the hotel incurred losses of millions of rupee over the years. The government is seeking suggestions from the private sector for facilitating hotel industry in the country, he added.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2020