ISLAMABAD - As security improves, annual tourist arrivals to Pakistan have more than tripled since 2013 to 1.75 million last year, while domestic travellers have increased to 38.3 million, according to the state-owned Pakistan Tourism Development Corp (PTDC).
Over the same period, foreign tourist arrivals in India jumped from 6.97 million in 2013 to 8.8 million in 2016, government figures show, reported Bloomberg.
The World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) puts the total contribution of tourism to Pakistan’s economy at $19.4 billion last year. In ten years, the WTTC expects that to rise to $36.1 billion.
The managing director of Wild Frontiers Adventure Travel Ltd., Jonny Bealby, a London-based operator that has run trips to Pakistan for two decades, said his tours to the South Asian nation are up 60 percent from last year.
“The roads have improved immeasurably reducing journey times,’’ Bealby said.
Since the 2014 massacre of more than 100 children at a military school, the army has neutered some insurgent groups. Swat Valley has witnessed a surge in tourism.
An 80 percent increase in hotel bookings was observed last year, according to a Pakistani accommodation booking website. Many Pakistanis want to travel, but going abroad is difficult, said Jovago Asia’s CEO Nadine Malik.