Aun Chaudhry visits the Pakistan Pavilion at the Arabian Travel Market in Dubai on Monday.
Sajjad Ahmad / Tanvir Usman, Staff Reporters
The Pakistan government is planning to start direct flights from the UAE to Skardu, a scenic city located in Gilgit-Baltistan, Aun Chaudhry, Adviser to the Prime Minister on Tourism and Sports, said on Monday.
A 25-member delegation from Pakistan led by Chaudhry participated in the Arabian Travel Market (ATM) 2023 in Dubai.
While highlighting the rich tourism potential of the country, Chaudhry, in an exclusive interview with Gulf Today, said that the direct flights from the UAE to Skardu will boost the tourism sector in the northern areas of Pakistan.
“Prime Minister Shahbaz Sharif is keen to promote tourism in the country. He has instructed me to take practical steps to materialise the plans in collaboration with private sector. Pakistan has a huge tourism potential. Our northern areas are among the most beautiful in the world. What we need is to facilitate the tourists to explore the scenic locations in those areas,” he said.
“In a bid to boost tourism, we are going to declare Skardu airport as an international airport and direct UAE-Pakistan flights on that route will start operating soon. Pakistan is a safe country. Law and order situation is satisfactory. Our aim is to attract the foreign tourists and grow the tourism industry as it has a huge potential,” he added.
Meanwhile, the Pakistan Tourism Development Corporation (PTDC) has set up a pavilion along with partner organisations such as TDAP, Pearl Continental Hotels, Hashoo Group, Legend Hotels and Resorts, ComfiTrav Tourism, Meezab Group, Waljis Travels, Zeb Travels, Eventica, Black Glacier Tours and College of Tourism and Hotel Management.
Earlier, Chaudhry and Faisal Niaz Tirmizi, Ambassador of Pakistan in the UAE, jointly inaugurated Pakistan’s Pavilion at ATM 2023 in Dubai.
Speaking on the occasion, Chahdhry also applauded the efforts of PTDC for the tourism promotion in Pakistan.
He encouraged the participation of the private sector in ATM Dubai 2023 to enhance business to business linkages with the counterparts of the Middle East and other countries and also increase the flow of foreign tourists and investors to Pakistan.
He appreciated the efforts of the Pakistan Embassy in UAE and Trade Development Authority of Pakistan for providing support to Pakistani exhibitors to participate in ATM 2023.
Tirmizi at the inauguration ceremony stated that participation of Pakistan in the Arabian Travel Market after a long gap is very significant and it will help to promote inbound tourism in Pakistan and also create a soft image of the country at a global level.
It will provide more business-related opportunities to the private sector stakeholders and bring in foreign investment in Pakistan from the Middle East, he said.
Aftab Rana, Managing Director of PTDC, said that Pakistan is blessed with breathtaking natural beauty, rich culture and heritage and great diversity of landscape offering an un-matched tourism potential.
He said the Government of Pakistan is committed to promoting tourism for the socio-economic development and job creation in the country.
The participation of Pakistan in the Arabian Travel Market will certainly enhance the influx of foreign tourists to explore the rich touristic potential of the country.
On the first day, the Pakistan Pavilion attracted a large number of trade visitors, exhibitors, tour operators, social media influencers and mediapersons to exchange contacts with Pakistani exhibitors and get information about Pakistan’s rich tourism potential and tour packages.
The Arabian Travel Market is the leading global event for the inbound and outbound travel industry in the Middle East.
For the last twenty-eight years, this annual event has connected tourism service providers from around the globe with buyers and travel trade visitors at the Dubai World Trade Centre.
More than 160 countries and over 2,000 exhibitors from around the world are participating in this year’s edition of ATM in Dubai.
The 30th edition of the ATM is being held as a part of Arabian Travel Week which is a 10-day-long festival of events designed to facilitate collaboration among industry professionals worldwide and capitalise on market opportunities through exhibitions, conferences, breakfast briefings, awards, product launches, and networking events.
The event will welcome more than 20,000 visitors and over 1,500 exhibiting companies during the four-day tourism showcase, which concludes on Thursday. 112 countries will be featured on the show floor ranging from Japan to Jamaica and South Africa to Italy.
The Sharjah Tourism Development Authority has unveiled “Rehlati,” a unique training programme in the emirate aimed at equipping tour guides with the necessary skills to offer comprehensive services in the tourism sector.
Taking place from May 16 to 19, this year’s event has 1,300 exhibitors from 62 countries including the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Israel, Italy, Germany, Cyprus, Egypt, Indonesia, Malaysia, South Korea, the Maldives, the Philippines, Thailand, Mexico and the US, underscoring the strength of our reach.
Sheikh Mohamed Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Sheikhs and guests of the country witnessed on Sunday the “Union March”, which was organised by the Presidential Office and launched as part of the activities of the Sheikh Zayed Heritage Festival for 2023 in Al Wathba area in Abu Dhabi.
At least 26 people were injured — including a local cleric — and transferred to hospitals. Police helped reroute traffic in the area after condoning off the site, officials said. The interior minister of Gilgit-Baltistan called the incident an "act of terrorism.”
Modi thanked voters for "their unwavering support” in the states where his party was leading. Rahul Gandhi, the Congress leader, conceded defeat in the three states where his party was trailing.