LAHORE: Punjab Tourism Minister Raja Yasir Humayun Sarfraz Saturday said that Punjab Tourism for Economic Growth Project would serve as a platform to promote strategic alliances by building public-private partnerships aimed at up-gradation of existing facilities and developing a robust strategy to enhance engagement of the private sector.
He expressed these views at a knowledge sharing event on 'Facilitating Private Sector Engagement in Tourism' to explore the tourism sector's potential to ensure active participation of the private sector.
The Punjab Planning and Development Department in collaboration with World Bank Group organised the event here.
The minister was of the view that unexploited potential of tourism sector could be unlocked to contribute in economic growth substantially through effective implementation of the project, complemented by an investor-friendly business environment and improved institutional capacity.
He added that the Punjab government was implementing Punjab Tourism for Economic Growth Project in collaboration with World Bank to support infrastructural development of selective religious sites in the province selected on the basis of their heritage value, historical significance and tourism potential.
Raja Yasir said the project aimed to promote tourism sector by strengthening the institutional capacity through better skills development along with boosting economic growth and job creation in addition to improving country's image abroad.
While, Punjab P&D Department's Secretary Iftikhar Ali Shoo said: "The project would explore institutional modalities to engage private sector by developing public private partnership frameworks, undertaking feasibilities and developing sector specific public private-partnership guidelines."
FPCCI Tourism Committee Chairman Raja Hassan Akhtar mentioned that the Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FPCCI) had always advocated and voiced the collective opinion, concern and aspiration of the private sector, besides giving viable advice and solid assistance to the government in its efforts to promote exports, encourage foreign investment and stimulate economic activity in the country.
Kamran Akbar from World Bank apprised the participants that an analytical exercise was conducted on cultural and heritage tourism with a special focus on tourism policy and regulatory frameworks, faith-based tourism regarding Sikh circuit, Buddhist circuit and Sufi shrines as well as leisure/adventure tourism.
The event was well attended by the private sector in interactive sessions and appreciated the government's initiatives and intent to engage the private sector and facilitate private investments in tourism sector.