Tourism Development Corporation of Punjab (TDCP) Managing Director Ahmer Mallick said the sightseeing double-decker bus service introduced in the city was receiving overwhelming response from Lahoris with more than 37,000 tourists experiencing the fun-ride in just three months.
He was addressing a seminar on tourism organised by Walled City of Lahore Authority.
He said that marketing is essential to sell a product and the Walled City of Lahore Authority (WCLA) remained successful in this regard, adding that the map of the walled city has been changed in a short span of time. There is a dire need to own the tourism industry and every one of us must play our part in promoting tourism in the country, he said.
WCLA Director General Kamran Lashari said that the purpose of organising the seminar was to collaborate with different associations and create a think tank for tourism which we currently lack. He narrated the story how he along with his team has managed to restore the Shahi Hamam (Royal Bath) and Wazir Khan Mosque to make them attractive for the tourists. He said that the WCLA has 20 tourist guides of its own and all of them have to take a course of 4-month training. He added that the authority has the service of 10 Rangeela Rickshaws and is planning to get ten more in coming days.
Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Turr Lahore Muhammad Murtaza said that most Lahoris are not familiar with the history of true Lahore. Even I was not familiar with the real culture of Lahore but when I came to know about its history, I fell in love with Lahore and now I am running the NGO Turr Lahore, said Murtaza, who is a student of bachelors at LUMS. There are about forty students in LUMS who are studying the curriculum of Walled City of Lahore in different courses, he informed.
Actress Nadia Jamil, who also teaches drama in private institutions, said that she arranged a ride of the sightseeing bus for her students and found the service to be extremely fascinating. The WCLA must initiate a program of story-telling for the historical buildings and monuments of Lahore, she said.
“It would be an honor for me to be a part of this story-telling team as I am in love with Lahore,” Jamil said.
Amjad Islam Amjad, noted poet and playwright, said that a person lives in two cities at one time – physically and spiritually and there are tens of thousands of people in the world who live in Lahore spiritually. It is good that tourism and specialties of Lahore are being promoted through writing and I encourage the youngsters to write more on Lahore, this is one way of preserving and promoting the history and encouraging the tourism, he said.
Shereen Masoud from Asian Study group said that the history of Lahore must be included in our curriculum. We are planning to see the glimpses of old Lahore next week under the program Lahore by night and most of our targeted market consists of elderly citizens, she said.
Others who spoke on the occasion included Adil Lahori, Raza Kharral, Mohsin Azam and photographer Arshad Ghori. At the end, a souvenir was presented to Baba Shami, a tour guide aged 86, who has devoted his life to promoting the profession of tourism.