Language barrier hinders Chinese tourists’ flow to Pakistan

November 23, 2022

Faiza Tehseen

A language barrier is one of the major hindrances to camaraderie between the operators of Pakistan and China to tie proper tourism business knots. This communication gap needs to be bridged to divert the largest flow of Chinese tourists to Pakistan, said Managing Director Pakistan Tourism Development Corporation (PTDC) Aftab-ur-Rahman, Rana in a discussion with WealthPK.

Aftab said China is a high-potential market for tourists keen to explore global nooks. Pakistan can get its slice by improving relations between the tourist authorities of both countries. This will not only bring the people of both countries closer, but also solve the socio-economic issues of Pakistan, he said.

He suggested that Pakistani tour operators participate in Chinese tour expos such as Beijing International Travel Expo, China International Travel Market, China outbound travel and tourism, etc.

‘’In the same way, Chinese tour operators/authorities must be invited to visit Pakistan for an exposure trip to Buddhist heritage havens, historical sites, ecological grounds, adventure fields, trade, business opportunities, etc. Promotion material in the Chinese language is another aspect to be focused on. It is also important to conduct proper research to know about the focal interests of Chinese visitors, travel preferences, cuisine specialties, shopping protocols, security issues, etc. Institutional linkages in this respect can work wonders. The role of a joint team of social media influencers is also important,’’ Aftab said.

He said strong bonds must be established between the PTDC and the Institute of International Studies at the China Tourism Academy (CTA). In the same way, Aftab said, the embassies of Pakistan and China should manage regular programs to focus on bilateral exchange of tourist activities and opportunities.

‘’Tourist guides on both sides should be combined and trained to understand the values, traditions, languages, and cultures for mutual respect. Visa policies should also be amended and a proper set of flexible policies should also be weaved on both sides,’’ Aftab suggested.

He said Pakistan abounds in sites for almost every type of tourist, i.e., religious, medical, eco, mountaineering, adventure, etc.

‘’As for the religious tourism, there is a variety of sacred places from the pre-historic period to date for a number of religious communities. Since 2003, Pakistan has become a destination for Chinese tourists mostly for business tours, while the number of real recreational visits is very low. In 2019, there were about 155 million outbound tourists from China, but only 80,000 visited Pakistan,’’ the PTCD managing director said.

Aftab said the CPEC had brought a lot of tourism, trade, and business opportunities to Pakistan, which would be beneficial to the development of remote and rural areas, and their connection with the urban areas and the outside world. Better infrastructure and ease of travel are the positive impacts to improve tourism in Pakistan, he added.

Globally, tourism is becoming a large industry, and a lot of tourism potential in Pakistan is yet to be exploited. Responsible authorities in Pakistan must take well-framed measures to establish the tourism industry on a responsible and modern basis.

Credit : Independent News Pakistan-WealthPk