In 2010, “Lonely Planet”, a large international travel guide had termed Pakistan as being "tourism's ‘next big thing’. This forecast never materialized. Many other World tourist organizations want Pakistan to become a tourist hotbed but Pakistan itself is probably not interested, so it appears.
Pakistan and specifically its leaders have never realized that their country has potential for tourism. There’s hardly any infrastructure even for domestic tourism. Hospitality industry is poorly developed. Few Pakistanis are aware that their country is home to the ancient Indus Valley Civilization. Were the sites of Mohenjo Daro and Harappa somewhere in Europe, they would have minted money by promoting these archaeological wonders.
The northeastern parts of Pakistan host stunning natural scenery rivaling the European Alps. A developed Western country would have easily popularized the entire area of Swat, Hunza and Saiful Muluk for nature lovers and adventure tourism. Imagine cable cars, funiculars, mountain trains, luxury resorts and tourist friendly public transport.
Incidentally, the region is inhabited by people who regrettably have no idea how tourism can transform their lives and make them prosperous. Most likely they will resent the liberal lifestyle brought in by the international tourists. It’s difficult for Pakistan to give a sense of safety to its visitors. If cricket teams who are well protected by the Security, still feel unsafe to travel to Pakistan, the ordinary tourist naturally feels threatened. Many major international carriers no more fly to Pakistani airports.
Pakistan being a Muslim country should not necessarily become an impediment to its becoming a tourist destination. Following are also Muslim majority countries but they are quite popular among international tourists: Turkey, Dubai, Malaysia, Indonesia, Egypt, Morocco, Jordon. Tourists of all shades feel relatively safe and welcome in these countries as they do not expect strict compliance to Islamic requirements.
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