Tourism promotion bid: No takers for visa on arrival offer

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There has been no tourist from any of the 24 countries recently offered a visa-on-arrival facility by Pakistan in a bid to revive the struggling tourism industry.

This cold response to Pakistan’s generous proposal has left a question mark on the performance of the interior ministry and Pakistani missions abroad who have failed to promote the visa scheme.

The government, a few months ago, had devised a policy for issuance of group tourist visas on arrival for 30 days to citizens of 24 Tourist Friendly Countries (TFC). The visa may be availed for ‘multiple entry’, with the visit sponsored by designated tour operators.

However, according to official documents of the interior ministry, not a single visa is under consideration as there have been no applicants.

According to sources in the relevant quarters, the ministry designed the policy to promote tourism in the country which is a neglected sector, but the ministry and other relevant quarters, including the country’s commercial attaches at foreign missions, could not sell the offer properly.

All these quarters were supposed to launch promotional campaigns for the tourists to get full benefit of the initiative, said the sources, adding that the new policy had failed to attract any group of tourists from any of the 24 countries.

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