MULTAN: Universities of Pakistan and China have decided to promote agriculture tourism with an objective to explore economic opportunities and improve people-to-people contacts between the two countries.
Muhammad Nawaz Sharif of University of Agriculture Multan (MNS-UAM) has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the International Institute of Business and Economics (Qinhuangdao Hebei-China) to help promote agriculture tourism in both the countries.
This was stated by Dean of Agriculture and Environment Professor Dr Shafqat Saeed while talking to APP here Saturday. He visited China in recent past and inked the agreement for cooperation to promote agriculture tourism . He said that it would be an excellent opportunity for the peoples of the two countries to experience and learn about a lifestyle that was quite different than their own.
The Dean said that agricultural tourism was a worldwide trend, which offered city dwellers a chance to escape urban concrete and re-discover their rural roots. Agricultural tourism is a relatively new market for tourists and entrepreneurs. He said that interaction of individuals with farm life also carries an educational aspect, along with business opportunities. People tend to enjoy learning about items and processes that they will not participate directly.
Agri-tourism is becoming an important activity to develop opportunities as more population has moved to cities and have lost their connection to where agriculture is done, added Dr Shafqat.
He said the agri-tourism also includes a set of economic and social activities that occur and link travel with the products, services, and experiences of agriculture fields.
To another question about the new trend at international level, he said that agricultural tourism has seen a boost in popularity in the recent years at international level. It allowed people to stay at fully functioning farms in order to observe the work routines and activities that are carried out in the agriculture business on day-to-day basis.
When asked how the Nawaz Sharif University of Agriculture can help Chinese agri-tourists during their Pakistan visit, Dr Shafqat Saeed said that Pakistan, especially south Punjab, had many agricultural recreational sites and harvest festivals. He said that Chinese entrepreneurs, farmers, or other tourists would visit mango and citrus orchards etc., and also enjoy local harvesting season festivals. They could observe working of our farmers in orchards and other agriculture fields. They could observe our culture, our traditions, hospitality and also explore business opportunities.
He said that the University of Agriculture would facilitate visitors in many ways. It would help in making complete visit plans, business plans and provide guides so that the tourists could have maximum awareness of our agricultural activities and business opportunities.
Dr Shafqat said that the agriculture tourism would bring the peoples of two countries closer to each other and they would learn innovations from their mutual experiences.
Similarly, China also holds summer camps. Pakistani farmers, entrepreneurs and others could visit China. The both universities would facilitate the citizens of the friendly countries, he concluded.