Terrorism a threat to Pakistan`s tourism sector
Islamabad: The detonating security situation in Pakistan has seen its world tourism ranking dropping from 111 last year to 113 in 2009, a new report says.
According to a report of the World Economic Forum, Pakistan ranked 113 out of 130 countries in 2009 also because of the lack of a tourism regulatory framework.
Online news agency quoted sources in the tourism ministry as saying that the minister, Atta-ur-Rehman, does not take interest in his portfolio as he has no experience in the field and that his current policy was to "kill time".
Proof of this is the fact that the ministry website has not been updated and does not have any information on hotels and tourist places in Pakistan.
The minister, however, admitted that the spate of terrorist attacks, the latest of these in Peshawar on Sunday, had resulted in tourist arrivals dropping.
According to former tourism minister Nilofar Bakhtiar, there were various places in the country which could become good tourist spots but what was required was a proper government policy that was missing.
The sources said that many motels in the country`s restive northwest were closed as tourists were banned from those areas and the staff had migrated to other cities for work.
Pakistan has witnessed a series of terror strikes as the army battled the Taliban in mountainous South Waziristan. The Taliban have vowed to retaliate over the US drone attacks, one of which killed their leader Baitullah Mehsud in early August.
At least 13 people, including the mayor of a town near Peshawar, were killed and 36 others were wounded when a suicide bomber blew up a car outside the official`s home Sunday, less than a fortnight after a massive bomb blast killed over 110 people in the North West Frontier Province capital.
The latest wave of militant violence started with a suicide bombing at the offices of the UN World Food Programme in Islamabad October 5. Five employees of the agency were killed.
The heavily fortified Pakistani Army`s General Headquarters had come under attack Oct 10 when 10 terrorists in military uniform laid siege to it. At least 19 people, including nine raiders, died in the 22-hour standoff. One militant was arrested.
On Oct 15, gunmen wearing suicide vests stormed two police academies and the offices of Pakistan`s Federal Investigation Agency in Lahore. A car bomber struck at a police station in the northwestern town of Kohat. At least 38 people including 11 insurgents were killed in a single day.
A day later, 25 people were killed and 27 injured in a series of blasts across Pakistan.
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