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Another Robust Year For Tourism In Asia And Pakistan

Asia’s tourism development has proven to be among the star performers as international arrivals almost doubled the world average in 2006. Particularly the tourism industry has to be regarded as an economic powerhouse and job creator, as the Prime Minister…

Asia’s tourism development has proven to be among the star performers as international arrivals almost doubled the world average in 2006. Particularly the tourism industry has to be regarded as an economic powerhouse and job creator, as the Prime Ministerof Pakistan, Mr. Shaukat Aziz, pointed out during the recent UNWTO Asia-Pacific Commission Meetings and the Asia-Pacific Conference on Low-Cost Carriers, held in the capital Islamabad.

International tourist arrivals to Asia and the Pacific grew at an average annual rate of 7.1% since 1990. According to UNWTO figures, last year witnessed a 7.6% expansion, while global growth reached 4.5%. Asia’s remarkable performance goes hand in hand with the importance attributed to tourism by national governments in the region.

While the main driving forces behind the region’s outstanding growth are China and India, a major factor has been the expansion of Low Cost Carrier services as well as a significant improvement in direct airline capacity from important source markets such as Europe and the Middle East.

“Tourism in Asia and the Pacific region has become the motor propelling global tourism and is thus gradually changing the world tourism scenario”, said UNWTO Deputy Secretary-General Taleb Rifai. “This region has been experiencing one of the highest growth rates of international tourist arrivals since 1990, surpassing since then at all times the world average”.

Against the background of sustained and robust growth of the sector, UNWTO stresses the importance of tourism as an effective tool for socio-economic development and the fight against poverty.

The Minister of Tourism of Pakistan, Nilofar Bakhtiar, underscored the relevance of tourism for the economic progress of her country. In order to avoid negative repercussions on tourism growth, she called on to the international community to help Pakistan in its efforts against the negative publicity being circulated through travel advisories. In 2005 alone international arrivals to Pakistan grew by 23%.

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