Digitalizing Tourism Industry in Pakistan – Trends, Challenges and Recommendations

Today is the era of globalization and there is no doubt about the role of technology in this regard. We are living in 21st century where a single aspect of our lives depends on technology, from minor to major, science takes its role. Everything is shaping and moulding according to technological advancement. It is transforming how we inform and connect ourselves, our behaviour, and even sustainability and innovation. Pakistan is a developing country and is underway progressiveness. The country is trying to put more use of technology and innovation in every walk of life. So is the chase with the tourism industry which at present is one of the prominent, leading as well as rapidly growing industries across the globe. Pakistan is also on its way toward digitalizing its tourism machinery, which is impeding positive growth in the future and will take part in the GDP of the country. With the ever-rising digitalization, different levels of strategies can be applied to any industry. Nowadays company comprehends that to stay driven it needs to excel in its services by providing profound and helpful technological services to its customers. Travel industries are no excuse. Digital tourism is on its way to take off. As once again peace started to prevail after a long and brutal war against terrorism, tourism has now been seen as a future potential economic contributor. It is evident from recent international trends after Forbes Magazine and several others enlisted Pakistan the top 10 countries to visit for 2020. There is a lot of potential for attracting tourists just by using social networks to promote beautiful natural scenes. The boom of social media has takeover the entire world in its lap. Each side of human life and also the surroundings is evolving on social media. Together with several alternative aspects, the touristy business has been greatly influenced by this medium of technological advancement and communication system. Each and every part of the globe is being represented on social media which has brought the entire world on one platform. Thus, the touristic spots, historical places, the endemic culture, and alternative aspects are published and marketed on this platform that is making new methods for the promotion of touristy within the country. Moreover, this medium features a positive aspect that has represented the nice image of the country and additional tourists are attracted to the new and exciting destinations in Pakistan. This article tend to highlight potential of eco-friendly tourism in Pakistan; trends and challenges to it’s growth and how recommendations to make a best use out if it.

POTENTIAL OF TOURISM IN PAKISTAN

Pakistan is diverse in terms of geography and culture it culminates. From tourists to religious sites, the nation has incredible potential for tourism. Pakistan has a larger potential for eco-tourism due to its scenic beauty, seasonal changes, varied culture, historical places, high-altitude mountains, and mineral and organic substances. According to World Trade Organization (WTO) 2020, Pakistan’s tourism will grow by US$39.8 Billion at intervals over a decade. This suggests that together with the immeasurable potential for tourism in Pakistan, the aid of tourism may even boost the economy to a different level. Together with this, the availability of facilities at intervals in this sector can become simple, reachable, and manageable for all. However, due to political unresponsiveness and disregard, most of the potential is lost. Pakistan’s riotous history has dominated its unused tourism potential, and the post-9/11 circumstance has assisted in defacing the country’s picture around the world. Luckily, the circumstances are changing. In recent years, the government of Pakistan has given crucial significance to the tourism segment. A number of worldwide seminars and occasions have been organized to advance the country’s tourism potential. Travel blogs by foreign bloggers have boosted tourism within the nation. International organizations have moreover made a difference to prioritize Pakistan’s tourism potential. In 2018, Pakistan was positioned as the best tourist goal for hiking by The British Backpacker Society. Samuel Joynson, one of its authors, positioned the nation at the front of the list only because of the friendliness and hospitality of the local people and the sensational mountain view. Pakistan’s northern belt is frequently compared to Switzerland for its unimaginable view and potential for snow sports. Similarly, the best travel magazine Conde Nast Traveller positioned the nation as the best on its list of Travel Goals of The World for 2021. The magazine expressed that the guests will discover that not much has changed since the Mughal period; they can investigate the winding trails, peaks’ gemstone mines, and the Fairy Meadows . Forbes moreover enrolled the nation as the best visitor destination.

Also Read: National Parks in Pakistan – Fauna, Flora and Importance

BENEFITS OF DIGITAL ECO-TOURISM

Digitization has provided multiple benefits to our tourism industry, they may include:

Major information shift: In the past, tourism used to be based on connections and personal relations, which provide limited opportunities to tourists including service-based information by enterprises. With the arrival of digital technology, people can now explore and gather information from the internet with less service-based and can be seen as more information-based.
Creating competition: There is a lot of stuff available on social media as well as on different sites. Thus private enterprises, as well as hotels, must come up with something extra to excel in their business. Thus creating more competition which in turn provides more consumer benefits.
Job creation: Digitalization has also caused to increase in jobs on online platforms for activities like e-commerce, social media marketing, and other media marketing.
More consumer-based: Prior to digitalization, the sector was more service-based where consumers have limited options. With the arrival of technology, tourism has become more consumer-based which helps and appeals masses to industry.
Preserving nature: By encouraging directly supporting local communities eco-tourism meant to preserve and protect nature. This low impact approach to tourism also help in sustainability and development of history and culture.

You Might Also Be Interested in: Environmental Damage Due to Tourism Industry of Pakistan

TRENDS AND CHALLENGES IN DIGITALIZATION OF TOURISM INDUSTRY

As the virtual age rises to a brand new level, virtual techniques may be implemented in nearly any enterprise. The tourism industry realizes that to live competitively it has to discover meaningful, useful business, and technological improvements for its clients. Nowadays, human beings are seeking out destinations, travels, and locations to live. They try this online, so requests for human assistance were captured with the aid of using the virtual era. Carrying a cellular smartphone and attempting to find the preferred vacation spot on more than one structure is a whole lot less difficult and quicker. For regular human beings and tourism suppliers, that is a massive change. If any organization related to the tourism or leisure enterprise can’t preserve up with the trend, it is going to be very harmful. The tourist platform must offer distinctive statistics and more than one alternative in a single package; otherwise, traffic will go away from the site, hoping to discover any other higher site. Artificial intelligence may be used to automate obligations formerly done with the aid of using people and boosting up particular mastering processes. At the equal time, it may enhance excellent and overall performance even at lowest costs. People need to live in contact even as visiting to get beneficial journey recommendations or percentage of their reviews with friends. Therefore, for travel carrier providers, it’s really well worth making an investment in wi-fi networks to the boom visitor experience. This virtual technology can enhance content material advertising and tourist experience. In addition, with the assistance of AR, they could without delay, offer commands with the smartphone’s camera.

Also Check Out: Environmental Impacts of Growing Tourism Industry of Pakistan

RECOMMENDATIONS

The following steps can be taken in order to enhance digital tourism in Pakistan:

1) Technological Innovations in Hotels:
Steps should be taken to provide online services including online bookings which are currently under its way of development. Hotels in main tourist spots should be equipped with such facilities so that travel becomes easier and more convenient for tourists, especially foreigners.
2) Online Flight Bookings:
International, as well as national flights, should book through the online system for reservations and payments should be made using the online banking system for time saving and comfortable experience.
3) Social Media Marketing and Publicity of Tourist Spots:
Since each and every part of the world is known as being portrayed on social media. Government, private enterprises as well as private influencers and vloggers should try to publicize famous tourist spots, religious and historical places, and indigenous culture.
4) Digital Awareness:
The government in cooperation with private enterprises must come up literacy program on the impact of digitization on tourism, for this, a specified system can be formed that provide awareness through conducting workshops, social media campaign, and awareness seminars.
5) Using VR Technology, Especially for Foreign Tourists:
Virtual Reality technology can be used for making VR tourism videos that though working like normal video, can be viewed on websites or social media, but the user can find the entire scene by playing the video. Such technology must be provided especially to attract foreign tourists as well as domestic. Government must start working on it.
6) Building Eco-friendly Sustainable Resorts:
Government must work on building sustainable, innovative and eco-friendly resort or Airbnbs. With the growing demands for environmentally friendly accommodations government must take it’s role for better cause.
7) Use Public Transport:
Government must supply with or assist local communities to work for comfortable as well as affordable public transport and encourage tourist to make use of it instead of private transport to reduce carbon emission.

Also Read: Urgency of Climate Justice for Mountain Communities of Pakistan

CONCLUSION

With the modernization in communication and information technology, every aspect of life has moved towards a digital version of itself. So is the case with our tourism industry which is seen as potential as well as a rapidly growing market for the future. Tourism can be a billion-dollar industry in our country if providing basic facilities to tourists. Pakistan is on its way towards digitization of its tourism industry which is showing positive growth in the post-COVID-19 era and will contribute to the GDP of the country. Moving this sector towards digitalization will make it more cheap and easy for the country and tourists. Furthermore, by portraying the brilliant images of tourist spots using social media and other means, providing suggested policy and awareness on part of the government and other stakeholders to promote tourism culture, will add growth to the tourism industry in Pakistan. Alongside, we must encourage eco-friendly measure to sustain beauty of these natural places and undertake mass awareness for this cause.

The article was written by Mr. Hammad Abbasi; He is a student of International Relations at Quaid-e-Azam University Islamabad. His areas of interest include Humanities, non-traditional security studies, and South Asian studies.

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