Islamabad plans a Single Tourist Visa for Central Asia
Posted on May 20, 2019
A Single Tourist Visa for visitors from nations in Central Asia is being planned by Pakistan. These are the members of the CAREC – Central Asia Regional Economic Cooperation. The move is aimed at promoting tourism in the nation and generating revenues.
The plan was announced by Dr. Ishrat Husain Institutional and Governance Reforms Adviser to the Prime Minister. This was at the Forum on Sustainable Tourism Development CAREC. He said that all the 11 member countries shared similar attractions that must be linked together.
The annual meeting of the Board of Governors of ADB was held from May 1 to 5, 2019. This was the first time that a developing member nation in the Pacific played the host. This was an opportunity for discussing development issues being faced by the Pacific and Asia. ‘Prosperity through Unity’ was the theme for the event held this year.
The interactions included attendance from Government officials, Central Bank Governors, Ministers, and Private sector representatives. It also included Media persons, civil society, Academia, and Development partners.
Dr. Husain said that the tourism trends are changing globally from single nation tourism to multi-nations hopping tourism. This is with cost-effective approaches and common goals. He said this ahead of the Asian Development Bank’s 52nd Annual Meeting to be held at the tourist hotspot Fiji.
The Adviser gave an example by saying that Lahore, Kabul, Kandahar, Bukhara, and Samarkand share mountainous and religious linkages. These must be promoted in the form of a package for leveraging mutual advantages and strengths, he said.
Husain said that there must be common tour operators from the private sector. These must overcome the barriers of language with common interpreters from CAREC. This is for ensuring efficient and hassle-free tourism industry, added the Adviser, as quoted by the Eurasian Times.
The CAREC members must plan a common Single Tourist Visa that covers the entire region for an extended time period said, Husain. This will ensure that immigration-related issues are not faced by tourists at diverse border points, he added.
The Adviser stressed that a common strategy for marketing must be adopted by the CAREC members. This is involving awareness campaigns, common destination bundles, inter-connected and similar border facilities, and private sector. Modern tourism cannot be expected to operate effectively and efficiently without interconnectivity enabled by technology, he added.
Husain also told the participants that the new Government of Pakistan offers top priority to tourism.
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