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MenInG
2nd September 2017, 14:53
Is PR the only way?

Have seen some campaigns on London buses etc but is that enough?

DW44
2nd September 2017, 15:02
We can't. Not without a major cultural shift anyway. NFP wrote a brilliant article on this subject a while ago and he made a very good point about the hardening of our culture coinciding with the steep drop in tourist numbers. In it's current form, Pakistan simply can't make itself an attractive tourism destination while retaining the existing levels of cultural conservatism. There are thousands of little unwritten rules and laws which, while perfectly normal for the average Pakistani, would be unacceptable to most foreign visitors bar those from places like Saudi and Kuwait. Restrictions on how one dresses, the expectation of respect for local norms, rules and laws governing the sale and consumption of alcohol (a massive factor for tourism), lack of any recreational activities outside of eating out, and threats from religious extremists are all factors that deter most people from visiting. One could argue that low tourist numbers have a lot to do with Pakistan's perception abroad and the myriad travel advisories but lets not kid ourselves, our perception abroad is not at all unjustified.

MenInG
2nd September 2017, 15:51
We can't. Not without a major cultural shift anyway. NFP wrote a brilliant article on this subject a while ago and he made a very good point about the hardening of our culture coinciding with the steep drop in tourist numbers. In it's current form, Pakistan simply can't make itself an attractive tourism destination while retaining the existing levels of cultural conservatism. There are thousands of little unwritten rules and laws which, while perfectly normal for the average Pakistani, would be unacceptable to most foreign visitors bar those from places like Saudi and Kuwait. Restrictions on how one dresses, the expectation of respect for local norms, rules and laws governing the sale and consumption of alcohol (a massive factor for tourism), lack of any recreational activities outside of eating out, and threats from religious extremists are all factors that deter most people from visiting. One could argue that low tourist numbers have a lot to do with Pakistan's perception abroad and the myriad travel advisories but lets not kid ourselves, our perception abroad is not at all unjustified.

We have tourists coming to Malaysia and Indonesia - we can come up to that level atleast?

DW44
2nd September 2017, 15:56
We have tourists coming to Malaysia and Indonesia - we can come up to that level atleast?

Indonesia is still a pretty major step up (and Malaysia an absolutely massive one) and one that we don't seem likely to take in the foreseeable future. If anything, Malaysia and especially Indonesia have recently started moving closer to Pakistan than the other way round. Right now, all three countries are rapidly becoming more conservative and given the nature of conservatism in these places, that means a less welcoming environment for western tourists at least. The east Asian market is still open but it's a small one since they mostly focus on the mountains up north (in Pakistan) and Buddhist historical places. We get a lot of Chinese, Korean and Japanese tourists (tens of thousands so still pretty low by global standards, even places like India) and numbers will increase for the Chinese at least but the golden goose is western tourists and they know they're not welcome here.

TSA321
2nd September 2017, 16:06
Stopping bomb blasts from occurring would be a start

MenInG
2nd September 2017, 16:17
Stopping bomb blasts from occurring would be a start

bomb blasts happen in the UK etc also

ahmedwaqas92
2nd September 2017, 16:21
Indonesia is still a pretty major step up (and Malaysia an absolutely massive one) and one that we don't seem likely to take in the foreseeable future. If anything, Malaysia and especially Indonesia have recently started moving closer to Pakistan than the other way round. Right now, all three countries are rapidly becoming more conservative and given the nature of conservatism in these places, that means a less welcoming environment for western tourists at least. The east Asian market is still open but it's a small one since they mostly focus on the mountains up north (in Pakistan) and Buddhist historical places. We get a lot of Chinese, Korean and Japanese tourists (tens of thousands so still pretty low by global standards, even places like India) and numbers will increase for the Chinese at least but the golden goose is western tourists and they know they're not welcome here.

Utter **....You have no idea what you're talking !!

TSA321
2nd September 2017, 16:48
bomb blasts happen in the UK etc also

How many in the last 10 years?

big_gamer007
2nd September 2017, 16:55
Don't want to offend anyone but the image of Pakistan in western world needs an improvement.. Right now the average westerner will look at Pakistan/Afghanistan as countries with terrorism concerns and would avoid visiting them.. So Pakistan needs to build up PR strongly and also offer safety to the tourists by stopping terrorist attacks.. Once they achieve that then conservatism, alcohol etc etc what dw44 mentioned needs to be looked at..

Pakpak
2nd September 2017, 17:22
We can't. Not without a major cultural shift anyway. NFP wrote a brilliant article on this subject a while ago and he made a very good point about the hardening of our culture coinciding with the steep drop in tourist numbers. In it's current form, Pakistan simply can't make itself an attractive tourism destination while retaining the existing levels of cultural conservatism. There are thousands of little unwritten rules and laws which, while perfectly normal for the average Pakistani, would be unacceptable to most foreign visitors bar those from places like Saudi and Kuwait. Restrictions on how one dresses, the expectation of respect for local norms, rules and laws governing the sale and consumption of alcohol (a massive factor for tourism), lack of any recreational activities outside of eating out, and threats from religious extremists are all factors that deter most people from visiting. One could argue that low tourist numbers have a lot to do with Pakistan's perception abroad and the myriad travel advisories but lets not kid ourselves, our perception abroad is not at all unjustified.

This is actually true. A Westerner wearing a skirt in Pakistan would alone raise many eyebrows, never mind booze.

DW44
2nd September 2017, 17:25
Utter **....You have no idea what you're talking !!

By all accounts, in recent years the Malaysian government has been moving closer to the Saudi monarchy and more incidents of intolerance have started being reported, at least in international media which is where someone who doesn't live there would get their information. From the outside, based on the news coming out of Malaysia in recent years, it certainly looks like the country is moving to the right. That doesn't necessarily mean that it has suddenly turned into Pakistan but it does seem to be getting more conservative with this shift being state sanctioned.

blackanhyellow
2nd September 2017, 18:09
Pretty much need to solve law and order situation and achieve peace in the country.

Pakistan actually has a lot to offer in terms of tourist attractions.

Firstly, the food and culture.

Then there are mountain ranges that mountain climbers and thrill seekers would love.

There's places with natural beauty like Kashmir, Gilgit, etc...

Many muslims from around the world might want to visit historical mosques.

Also, Pakistan's biggest tourist draw might be Indians if there is ever peace between the two countries. Think about it, Pakistan is home to the birth place of the founder of the sikh religion. Pakistan could potentially get hundreds of thousands of sikh pilgrims every year from India, UK, Canada, etc...

Cpt. Rishwat
2nd September 2017, 18:11
First of all Pakistan has to want to attract tourists. Other than mountain climbers, I'm not sure there's much effort to attract the normal type of tourists who would go to other Asian countries.

CricketCartoons
2nd September 2017, 18:33
Also, Pakistan's biggest tourist draw might be Indians if there is ever peace between the two countries. Think about it, Pakistan is home to the birth place of the founder of the sikh religion. Pakistan could potentially get hundreds of thousands of sikh pilgrims every year from India, UK, Canada, etc...

But the famed pakistani hospitality is only for non indians. You guys don't think about us.

Cpt. Rishwat
2nd September 2017, 18:39
But the famed pakistani hospitality is only for non indians. You guys don't think about us.

Pakistani hospitality would probably be overwhelming for Indians to be honest. It is a missed opportunity, but politics and the antics of both countries secret service mischief makers would make it unworkable.

Chrish
2nd September 2017, 18:50
Even India is struggling in that regard

Sidilicious
2nd September 2017, 19:14
Pretty much need to solve law and order situation and achieve peace in the country.

Pakistan actually has a lot to offer in terms of tourist attractions.

Firstly, the food and culture.

Then there are mountain ranges that mountain climbers and thrill seekers would love.

There's places with natural beauty like Kashmir, Gilgit, etc...

Many muslims from around the world might want to visit historical mosques.

Also, Pakistan's biggest tourist draw might be Indians if there is ever peace between the two countries. Think about it, Pakistan is home to the birth place of the founder of the sikh religion. Pakistan could potentially get hundreds of thousands of sikh pilgrims every year from India, UK, Canada, etc...

If India and Pakistan were not enemies, these two countries would do a lot for each other in tourism and business.

Sikhs would obviously go to Lahore for obvious reasons, but so would other Indians for cultural and cricket aspects. Same with Pakistanis going to Indian for religious and cultural reasons.

When you add economy to it, it would be the game changer. Pakistani companies would get the huge Indian market, but also those Indian industries which are more developed than their Pakistani counterparts. Economy is simply a win win situation. But I don't see it happening soon.

Syed1
2nd September 2017, 19:53
Pakistan has many decades to go to reach Malaysia level. The same streets that have clubs and bars have mosques and other places of worship further down the road. Cannot even imagine such a situation in Pakistan at the moment.

Snak3eye5
2nd September 2017, 20:12
Going by this link below Malaysia is 2 out of the top 10 places to visit

https://www.tripsavvy.com/top-destinations-in-asia-1458724


Now this next link posts Malaysia as 6th best place and Kerala India as the third spot.

https://www.lonelyplanet.com/best-in-asia

So Malaysia is a top spot

Zaz
2nd September 2017, 21:31
Pakistan has a lot to offer from buddhist history, indus ruins, mughal architecture, mountains in the north, beautiful valleys and lovely cuisine

However to get tourists to come they need to sort out the terrorism situation, become less religiously conservative and undertake a major n widespread pr exercise

troodon
2nd September 2017, 21:55
Even India is struggling in that regard

Many get terribly disappointed after visiting India. They expect some kind of spiritual experience, but all they get is chaos and unclean surroundings.

faraz39
2nd September 2017, 23:13
If you study Mexico's tourism industry, they have found niches in certain parts of the country which are protected really well and don't see the high levels of drug related violence which the rest of the country is notorious for (same image problem as Pakistan -- terrorism vs drugs). Due to this, millions of Canadians/Americans visit the Mexican coastal cities such as Puerto Vallarta, Mayan Riviera, Cancun, Conzumel, etc.

We can get over the PR problem if we can create protected enclaves (specific northern areas like Baltistan, etc.) which have a high tourist potential due to the natural beauty. We have to start off by attracting regional tourists (better air connections) from Iran, China, SE Asia, Far Asia, and even the home market.

Pakistanian
3rd September 2017, 00:06
Easy, like DW44 said we need a cultural overhaul.

- Stop judging people.

- Stop telling people how to dress or how to live there life and spend their personal time and money.

- Stop harassing females and staring at them.

- Stop forcing women to stay in their houses, last time I visited Pakistan I went to the upscale parts of the major cities which are supposedly "progressive" yet there were barely any women in sight. A lot of tourists point this out in their travel journals about Pakistan.

- The crime rate also has to come down cause Pakistan has always had a very high crime rate even before the "war on terror" began according to my parents and older relatives. People just can't walk around safely in Pakistan let alone foreign tourists that stand out and have a lot more money.

Chrish
3rd September 2017, 00:42
Many get terribly disappointed after visiting India. They expect some kind of spiritual experience, but all they get is chaos and unclean surroundings.

It's not due to India not having quality attractions; they got plenty

It simply comes down to lack of three star hotels, cleanliness, hygiene and bad marketing. They got 5 star hotels but prices are staggering.!

India has plenty of attractions that can rival Taj Mahal yet you never hear about them. If you watch videos all you see is Taj Mahal. I rarely even see Great Wall when I watch Chinese videos.

India has plenty of potential

Napa
3rd September 2017, 00:46
In the Western mind, perception of whether Pakistan is safe for tourists is heavily influenced by events such as:

- the murder of Daniel Pearl
- the country of origin of the July 2005 London bombers
- the country where Bin Laden was found hiding
- the number of people reported killed in bomb blasts. For example, in 2016 the number of fatalities and injuries are about 20 times greater per capita for Pakistan compared to India. There is no point in repeating "blasts happen in London too". https://www.state.gov/j/ct/rls/crt/2016/272241.htm
- etc.

Now you may say that the Western perception is unfair, but you do not get customers (which is what tourists are) by telling them that they are mistaken.

Leo23
3rd September 2017, 00:49
Easy, like DW44 said we need a cultural overhaul.

- Stop judging people.

- Stop telling people how to dress or how to live there life and spend their personal time and money.

- Stop harassing females and staring at them.

- Stop forcing women to stay in their houses, last time I visited Pakistan I went to the upscale parts of the major cities which are supposedly "progressive" yet there were barely any women in sight. A lot of tourists point this out in their travel journals about Pakistan.

- The crime rate also has to come down cause Pakistan has always had a very high crime rate even before the "war on terror" began according to my parents and older relatives. People just can't walk around safely in Pakistan let alone foreign tourists that stand out and have a lot more money.

not sure which upscale parts you visited but if you go karachi lahore islamabad etc you will see women roaming around freely in public and often in jeans etc

as i said before you are very misinformed over life in pakistan based on your limited experience

Leo23
3rd September 2017, 00:50
In the Western mind, perception of whether Pakistan is safe for tourists is heavily influenced by events such as:

- the murder of Daniel Pearl
- the country of origin of the July 2005 London bombers
- the country where Bin Laden was found hiding
- the number of people reported killed in bomb blasts. For example, in 2016 the number of fatalities and injuries are about 20 times greater per capita for Pakistan compared to India. There is no point in repeating "blasts happen in London too". https://www.state.gov/j/ct/rls/crt/2016/272241.htm
- etc.

Now you may say that the Western perception is unfair, but you do not get customers (which is what tourists are) by telling them that they are mistaken.

if you don't mind asking how do you know so much about pakistan and its politics as an indian? do you live among pakistanis or are you a student of international relations,politics etc?

Napa
3rd September 2017, 01:03
if you don't mind asking how do you know so much about pakistan and its politics as an indian? do you live among pakistanis or are you a student of international relations,politics etc?

I have probably spent 75% of my time reading history, politics, current events etc.

You asked me whether I have lived among Pakistanis, and the answer is no. But my post was about the perception of Pakistan by Westerners, not by Pakistanis. I live in the West and read a lot of articles/blogs/news from Western sources, so I have a fair insight into their thinking.

Both India and Pakistan suffer from being geographically remote from the Western countries (the biggest markets for tourists). So they have to compete very hard for tourists and any negative perception is fatal.

Cpt. Rishwat
3rd September 2017, 04:48
I have probably spent 75% of my time reading history, politics, current events etc.

You asked me whether I have lived among Pakistanis, and the answer is no. But my post was about the perception of Pakistan by Westerners, not by Pakistanis. I live in the West and read a lot of articles/blogs/news from Western sources, so I have a fair insight into their thinking.

Both India and Pakistan suffer from being geographically remote from the Western countries (the biggest markets for tourists). So they have to compete very hard for tourists and any negative perception is fatal.

I would agree with you here, India definitely competes harder for western tourists than Pakistan. That said, it still doesn't seem to attract that many compared to other Asian countries like Thailand or the Philippines.

PakLFC
3rd September 2017, 05:20
PR and word of mouth. We need to make packages for those wanting to visit Pakistan. Also need to cut deals with holiday companies as well.

Gilly
3rd September 2017, 08:22
I travel quite extensively throughout the world and I'm always looking for new places to explore and cultures to experience.

The reason I would not go to Pakistan is because I don't believe I would be welcome there. Whether this is true or not I don't know but its the perception I have from my experiences.

Enigma_
3rd September 2017, 08:52
Easy, like DW44 said we need a cultural overhaul.

- Stop judging people.

- Stop telling people how to dress or how to live there life and spend their personal time and money.

- Stop harassing females and staring at them.

- Stop forcing women to stay in their houses, last time I visited Pakistan I went to the upscale parts of the major cities which are supposedly "progressive" yet there were barely any women in sight. A lot of tourists point this out in their travel journals about Pakistan.

- The crime rate also has to come down cause Pakistan has always had a very high crime rate even before the "war on terror" began according to my parents and older relatives. People just can't walk around safely in Pakistan let alone foreign tourists that stand out and have a lot more money.

Pretty much spot on to the OPs question.

But imo Pakistan needs to heal itself before worrying about such luxuries! From food to poverty to shutting down the borders from all sides (except a few checkpoints) the afghans also need to be told to go back to Afghanistan. Domestic healing is required first.

Napa
3rd September 2017, 11:08
I would agree with you here, India definitely competes harder for western tourists than Pakistan. That said, it still doesn't seem to attract that many compared to other Asian countries like Thailand or the Philippines.

The government can make things better by providing law, order and security. The development of tourism facilities and their operation is however something that has to be left to the private sector. Governments are absolutely horrible at running industries. India seems to have realized that somewhat. Pakistan in contrast with its idea "Our Army is great at everything it does, including running bakeries" needs to change if it wants to succeed.

Adil_94
3rd September 2017, 14:42
the real cash cows when it comes to.international tourism is western tourists.

to attract them you would need proper law and order an end to terrorism

but also a more liberalised culture in Pakistan where u could get alcohol and have nightclubs and places for a good nightlife. But most Pakistanis wont accept this. And without alcohol u wont attract western money.

Conservative states like Qatar UAE attract westerners because they can offer same pay rate tax free great standard of living infrastucture and law and order. Pak cant with its mass poverty and structural paralysis.

Even places like UAE have nightclubs and areas designated for foreigners they just cant bring it out into the street.

Qatar which is even more conservative has allowed alcohol zones for 2022 WC to attract football fans.

if u are conservative country like Pak u need to have super high standards of living and infrastucture to attract westerners.

farhan
4th September 2017, 20:24
We can't. Not without a major cultural shift anyway. NFP wrote a brilliant article on this subject a while ago and he made a very good point about the hardening of our culture coinciding with the steep drop in tourist numbers. In it's current form, Pakistan simply can't make itself an attractive tourism destination while retaining the existing levels of cultural conservatism. There are thousands of little unwritten rules and laws which, while perfectly normal for the average Pakistani, would be unacceptable to most foreign visitors bar those from places like Saudi and Kuwait. Restrictions on how one dresses, the expectation of respect for local norms, rules and laws governing the sale and consumption of alcohol (a massive factor for tourism), lack of any recreational activities outside of eating out, and threats from religious extremists are all factors that deter most people from visiting. One could argue that low tourist numbers have a lot to do with Pakistan's perception abroad and the myriad travel advisories but lets not kid ourselves, our perception abroad is not at all unjustified.

i second your opinion here. It's very difficult to bring foreign tourists to pakistan untill lot of things get changed specially in kpk region. People belongs to GB region are very moderate in thinking, but AJK & KPK, which has lot potential needs to bring better infrastructure to their areas.

humzy
6th September 2017, 07:19
My parents are Pakistani and I have been a bunch of times, however even I wouldn't go for a holiday unless a close relative was getting married etc, not sure how your going to get westerners to go who have no connection to the country.

Things impeding tourism
- Strict culture (this would take a long time to shift)
- Lack of respect for women and tourists (I look Pakistani and even I got stared at regularly, don't even start on what my sister went through everyday)
- uncleanliness (however this isn't a major hurdle as many tourists hotspots aren't always clean)
- lack of tourist areas (no beautiful beaches or islands)
- too many men in public compared to women (because who wants to see men all day, women create a beautiful atmosphere, not just by their looks but by their energy)
- no bar/club/entertainment culture (only private parties for the elite, which you will only have access to if you are connected)

current positives for tourism:
- the food is amazing
- the people are really. friendly one you get passed the cultural differences
- the far north has amazing landscapes and culture (this needs to be cultivated by making It a safe zone)

Suleiman
6th September 2017, 07:30
Not in our hands. We need to rebrand ourself like countries like Turkey first, who despite going through turmoil in the last 2 years still has managed to retain its reputation as a top tier vacation destination. Know a lot of western people who went there regardless of the political situation there, and honestly no issues as it has died down.

So only way would be to cut out the extremist cancer from the country from the roots, give it about 6-10 years and whatever makes us stand out from the region will become our new trademark, hopefully it is positive, and our growing tourism industry can be one of them.

Pakistan actually was a posh destination for foreigners back in 60s-70s from what I've heard.

humzy
6th September 2017, 08:21
Not in our hands. We need to rebrand ourself like countries like Turkey first, who despite going through turmoil in the last 2 years still has managed to retain its reputation as a top tier vacation destination. Know a lot of western people who went there regardless of the political situation there, and honestly no issues as it has died down.

So only way would be to cut out the extremist cancer from the country from the roots, give it about 6-10 years and whatever makes us stand out from the region will become our new trademark, hopefully it is positive, and our growing tourism industry can be one of them.

Pakistan actually was a posh destination for foreigners back in 60s-70s from what I've heard.

Turkey is one of the most beautiful countries you will find. Whether you go to their islands off the coast of the Mediterranean or to the city of Istanbul which has been standing for over a 1000 years with architecture and ancient monuments to go with it.

Their culture is very similar to European culture due to being in such close proximity to the Mediterranian (especially Istanbul).

For example, drinking culture is a norm there, women rarely cover up and there are specific tourist safe havens. So you see there is a reason why western tourists continue to go there regardless of any political turmoil.

Suleiman
6th September 2017, 08:40
Turkey is one of the most beautiful countries you will find. Whether you go to their islands off the coast of the Mediterranean or to the city of Istanbul which has been standing for over a 1000 years with architecture and ancient monuments to go with it.

Their culture is very similar to European culture due to being in such close proximity to the Mediterranian (especially Istanbul).

For example, drinking culture is a norm there, women rarely cover up and there are specific tourist safe havens. So you see there is a reason why western tourists continue to go there regardless of any political turmoil.

Yes that is true, but the thing to notice is how it has balanced all of that with it still being able to retain its Islamic heritage. Yes there are a lot of norms there that deviate from religion, but at the same time you still get Muslims who go there for the historic mosques as well as other religious sites. While you may have a Turkish lad there who has a girlfriend and holds hands with her in public, drinks casually, and goes to nightclubs on weekends, you may also find a guy who prays 5 times a day at the Sultanahmet mosque and abstain from the above, and yet both people are living in harmony.


That is what I was trying to say. Ofc, drinking and similar things may never become a norm in Pakistan at least in the immediate future, but we need to change and modernize our image a bit to the point we are not one of the top 3 countries that come to mind when someone says the word extremist.

humzy
6th September 2017, 10:25
Yes that is true, but the thing to notice is how it has balanced all of that with it still being able to retain its Islamic heritage. Yes there are a lot of norms there that deviate from religion, but at the same time you still get Muslims who go there for the historic mosques as well as other religious sites. While you may have a Turkish lad there who has a girlfriend and holds hands with her in public, drinks casually, and goes to nightclubs on weekends, you may also find a guy who prays 5 times a day at the Sultanahmet mosque and abstain from the above, and yet both people are living in harmony.

That is what I was trying to say. Ofc, drinking and similar things may never become a norm in Pakistan at least in the immediate future, but we need to change and modernize our image a bit to the point we are not one of the top 3 countries that come to mind when someone says the word extremist.

Yeah I completely agree with you.

I find muslim cultures and their deviations very interesting in comparison to other muslim cultures.

For example being in a multicultural country I mesh with a lot of communities where alcohol and women wearing short skirts is such a norm, to the point where at Afghan and Turkish weddings bottles of alcohol are provided for each table. Yet you will find the person on the next table might have a beard or wear a hijab.

This was always odd to me.

Pakistanis on the other hand really do seem to take the issue of abstinence and modesty a lot more seriously, for example the alcohol and women in skirts would never be permitted to happen at a Pakistani wedding, even in a western country.

Also almost all the men over 40 will tend to grow beards.

This could just be my experience in Australia though, so my UK and USA friends can correct me if I am wrong.

Ive actually had a theory about this for a while and it comes from identity.

Afghans, Persians and Turks have lived in their lands for thousands of years and have traditions based on their culture which stem from pre islamic society.

In this pre islamic culture there would have been a history of alcohol, gambling etc, which is embedded in the fabric of their culture even after the acceptance of islam.

Pakistanis on the other hand do not have a thousand year history of Pakistan as we know it today, they have a history of Indian culture.

They created a new country away from India and needed to rid themselves of some of that Indian heritage in order to create and identify with their own culture, thus closely identifying with islamic code as their main source of cultural inspiration.

Specialisttailender
6th September 2017, 23:40
I don't think Pakistan can. Why would any tourists would want to visit Pakistan when there is India for cultural, history tourism and Sri Lanka/Goa/Maldives/Andaman for beaches ? It doesn't make sense for anyone too visit a religiously conservative nation unless they have relatives and family ties.