LONDON: Internationally-acclaimed Pakistani mountaineer Nazir Sabir has called for using the full potentials of the tourism sector, including adventure tourism in Pakistan, by providing visa-on-arrival to the visitors at the airports in a bid order to attract a good number of tourists for the benefit of the country.
“By facilitating the foreign tourists, Pakistan can fetch much needed precious foreign exchange, as the country offers tremendous opportunities and potentials in the field of tourism, especially in the trekking and adventure tourism sector,” he told APP here on Sunday.
Nazir Sabir belongs to Hunza in Gilgit-Baltistan and was the first Pakistani mountaineer who had surmounted the world highest peak, the Mount Everest on May 17, 2000.
He had also climbed the K-2 in 1981, the second highest peak in the world, besides climbing four 8000 meters peaks in Pakistan.
Nazir Sabir was currently visiting the United Kingdom (UK) for attending an international tourism and investment conference said that tourism was the second largest industry in the world but regretted that Pakistan is the home of five out of fourteen 8000-meter peaks and one of the best attractive and beautiful tourist destinations, the country was only able to get 5 per cent of the worlds tourism share.
He said that Pakistan could increase its share in the world’s tourism by facilitating the foreign visitors and providing “On arrival visa to the tourists including the adventure tourists”.
Nazir Sabir recalled that this facility was available to the foreign tourists coming from sixty-four countries a few years back which attracted a good number of tourists from different countries of the world including the UK.
This visa facility, he said was also extendable.
He said that the “mountain wealth” of Pakistan was simply incomparable at this globe, while 100 meters long glaciers outside the polar world were situated in Northern Pakistan.
He added that three mountain ranges, Karakorum, Himalaya and Hindukush were also situated in Pakistan thus making the country “a paradise for the world mountaineers”.
Nazir Sabir who was also a former provincial minister for Education criticized the devolution of tourism to the provinces under 18th Constitutional amendment without building the capacity of the provinces, especially of Gilgit-Baltistan.
He was of the view that this had badly affected the tourism sector in Gilgit-Baltistan. He appealed to the present government for the revival of the previous Federal Ministry of Tourism in its original form and status in the country.
To a question, he said that tourists including from the UK were very keen to visit and explore Pakistan as one of the best tourist destinations.
Nazir Sabir welcomed the policies and initiatives announced by Prime Minister Imran Khan for the promotion of tourism in the country.
He hoped these initiatives of the government would help boost tourism in Pakistan.