Pakistan is fast becoming a heaven for tourists from all over the world. It has opened up its doors to the Sikhs from every corner of the world by inaugurating the Kartarpur Corridor in Central Punjab on November 9, 2019. Now, thousands of Sikh visitors have been flocking to the country to visit their holy shrines spread all over the country. The tourism has flourished in Pakistan for the past few years due to the improved security situation for locals and foreigners alike. The most popular destinations include Lahore, Islamabad, Swat Valley, and quite recently, the Kartarpur Darbar Sahib in Central Punjab near Lahore.
Especially, after the opening of the Kartarpur Corridor, the country may soon start becoming one of the top destinations for religious or faith tourism.
The country has become a popular tourist destination for Europeans and the Sikhs. Tourist traffic at cultural sites in Pakistan has seen a massive increase of 317 percent over the past five years with Punjab’s contribution being nearly 95pc, according to a report.
The report Cultural Heritage and Museum Visits in Pakistan by Gallup Pakistan, a research organization affiliated with Gallup International Association, indicates that tourism could be a potential game-changer that could revitalize the struggling economy of the country.
According to data presented in the report, available with Dawn, tourism at cultural sites has experienced a massive increase since 2014. From approximately 1.6 million visits in 2014, the tourist traffic at cultural sites rose to 6.6m visits in 2018, a 317 percent increase in five years. Punjab, as the largest and most populated province, contributed approximately 95pc whereas tourist traffic in Sindh and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa fluctuated over the years.
A Gallup Pakistan report indicates that tourism could be a potential game changer for country’s struggling economy
The tourist traffic at museum sites increased by approximately 50pc with the number of visits increasing from 1.7m in 2014 to around 2.7m in 2018. The tourist traffic in KP and Balochistan has also experienced a similar trend at its museum sites, whereas in Punjab and Sindh, the number of visits at museum sites fluctuated over the years. But overall, the provinces recorded a maximum number of visits in 2018.
Total visits by foreigners increased by more than two folds for both cultural and museum sites in Pakistan. Over the past five years, the percentage of foreign visitors to museums rose by approximately 130pc whereas foreign visitors to cultural sites rose by 100pc. Museums remained more popular among foreign visitors by receiving on average 50pc more visits than cultural sites. The trend among all four provinces for total foreign visits saw a gradual increase, with the highest increase in KP where the number of museum visits in 2018 rose by 250pc.
The Pakistan Monument Museum in Islamabad, Khewra Mines Museum in Chakwal and Lok Virsa Heritage Museum in Islamabad were the top three most popular museums from 2016 to 2018, with Taxila and Lahore museums in fourth and fifth positions.
Originally published on www.dawn.com