Tourism Gives Hope to Struggling Pakistan Economy as Cultural Sites See 317% Increase Footfall
Gallup Pakistan said tourism could be a potential game-changer for Pakistan's economy and Punjab province was the greatest contributor to the increased footfalls with a share of about 95 per cent.
Pakistan's Lok Virsa or folk heritage Museum (source: Reuters)
Islamabad: Tourist footfall to cultural sites in Pakistan has recorded a massive increase of 317 per cent over the past five years, with Punjab province contributing about 95 per cent to the figure, according to a report published by a research institute.
In its report, Gallup Pakistan said tourism could be a potential game-changer to revitalise the country's struggling economy.
From approximately 1.6 million visits in 2014, the tourist traffic to cultural and historical sites has risen to 6.6 million in 2018, a 317 per cent jump, the report said.
Punjab province was the greatest contributor to the increased footfalls with a share of about 95 per cent. Tourist traffic in Sindh and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa had fluctuating readings over the five-year period.
The tourist traffic at museums increased by approximately 50 per cent with the number of visits increasing from 1.7 million in 2014 to around 2.7 million in 2018.
Total visits by foreigners increased by more than two fold for both cultural and museum sites. Over the past five years the percentage of foreign visitors to museums rose by approximately 130 per cent whereas foreign visitors to cultural sites rose by 100 per cent.
Museums remained more popular among foreign visitors, receiving about 50 per cent more visits than cultural sites. The Pakistan Monument Museum in Islamabad, Khewra Mines Museum in Chakwal and Lok Virsa Heritage Museum in Islamabad were the top three most popular museums from 2016 to 2018, with Taxila and Lahore museums in fourth and fifth positions.
Speaking to Dawn, Bilal Ghani of Gallup Pakistan said, "We have observed 15 to 20 per cent increase in local and foreign visitors. Interest in museums is continuously increasing."
He said the report was based on the tourist records maintained by the federal and provincial governments. The report states that the Shahi Qila in Lahore was the most popular cultural site.
The Shalimar Garden in Lahore was the second most popular site in 2016 and 2018, and the Hiran Minar in Sheikhupura was the second most visited site in 2017.
The third most popular site in 2016 was Jehangir's tomb in Lahore. Among foreigners, the Lahore Museum was the most popular site in 2016 and 2017. But, in 2018 Taxila Museum was most visited by foreigners.
From 2016 to 2018, Taxila was the most liked cultural site for foreign tourists. The Shahi Qila was the second most well-liked site. The third most visited site by foreigners in 2016 was Moenjodaro, Larkana, Jehangir's Tomb in 2017 and the Shalimar Garden in 2018.
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