Pakistan to ease visa rules to woo foreign tourists

With vision to attract more tourists to the country, Pakistan government is planning to ease visa restrictions for visitors from 55 countries, including most European nations. Inbound tourism in the country has been almost dormant following the 9/11 attacks in the US.

“We are reviewing our visa policies. We are trying to bring 55 countries into a visa-free region, which includes most of the European countries,” said Fawad Chaudhry, Information Minster, to the media.

When Imran Khan has sworn in as the Prime Minister, he has declared that Pakistan would give priority to tourism, to explore the abundant tourism potential prevailing in the nation. He reiterated that the country will be showcased as a tourist friendly nation to attract tourists from around the world.

Recently the Portugal government has declared Pakistan safe for travel, while France has also relaxed its advisory on travel to the South Asian nation

“We are happy that our travel advisories are changing,” said Chaudhry.

Other than the frequent militant attacks, the arduous visa process was also a factor that hampered the flow of tourists to the nation. Image of the nation among the world as country with security issues and the imposition of a harsh interpretation of Islamic laws have adversely affected the inflow of tourists from other countries.

Following Pakistan’s participation in the US-led war in Afghanistan after the September 11, 2001 attacks in New York and Washington, the country was rocked by a decade of regular large-scale militant attacks.

As per reports, following the improved security measures taken by the government, militant attacks have come down sharply in recent years.

British Airways on Tuesday has announced that it would resume flights to Pakistan in 2019, after long ten years’ abstinence, followed a major hotel bombing. It will be the first Western airline to resume such flights.