The federal government is mulling to take immediate measures to promote coastal tourism in the country, as the development of Pakistan’s coastal areas could help the government earn $5 billion per annum.
According to the Maritime Study Forum, the government intends to develop coastal areas of Sindh and Balochistan and a study has already been conducted in this regard.
Pakistan hardly generates around $50,000 from this industry.
The forum recently conducted a survey wherein it was revealed that around 70pc of Pakistanis have either never experienced coastal tourism or had not seen Pakistan’s coastline beyond Karachi.
It suggested the federal and provincial governments of Sindh and Balochistan take immediate and concrete steps to promote coastal tourism and avert sea blindness.
As per Air Vice-Marshal (r) Ijaz Malik, Pakistan needs to learn from coastal tourism development models of countries that are exploiting the sector’s potential. In this regard, he suggested the UAE model could help Pakistan develop its coast into a thriving tourism industry.
Meanwhile, senior journalist and anchorperson Nadia Naqi explained how Pakistan’s coastal tourism has remained stagnant through decades.
“In order to promote coastal tourism, we not only need to develop infrastructure on coasts but also bring about sustainable development that protects the coastal ecosystem,” she stated.
Naghmana Zafar, Senior Research Associate at NIMA, stressed the need to promote maritime domain awareness among institutions and organizations within the country. “In order to address sea blindness in the country, the common public, as well as investors and institutions, need to be sensitised.”
Moreover, Al-Noor Cruise Shipping CEO Shoaib Ahmed emphasized the importance of developing local coastal communities. He said the local culture of coastal communities can act as a great incentive to attract tourists towards this part of the country.
Maritime Study Forum President Dr Syed Mohammed Anwer also stressed the need for promoting maritime awareness in the country.
“It will not only help to promote coastal development and tourism but will also highlight the importance of the overall maritime sector in the national economy”.
He suggested the establishment of a coastal tourism authority to manage and promote coastal tourism in the country.