The Pakistan Tourism Summit 2019 Snub
The Pakistan Tourism Summit 2019 concluded yesterday and has sparked not only interest but also an outrage. The Summit provided clarity and direction for Pakistan’s tourism initiatives, and several milestones were set to accelerate foreign tourism. However, the panel of social media influencers called into discuss tourism entirely lacked local representation.
Among the invited were bloggers Trevor James, Mark Wiens, Eva zu Beck, Rosie Gabrielle, Alex Reynolds, and Amel Lamloum. And while both Trevor James and Mark Wiens have an impressive social media following, the remaining four are relatively unknown beyond Pakistan. This had people wondering why local vloggers and influencers were snubbed by the organizers.
Back in September 2018, Minister for Tourism, Sports, Youth, Culture, and Archeology, Atif Khan had called on Pakistani social media influencers to promote tourism in Pakistan. His tweet was met with prompt enthusiasm by leading vloggers- Irfan Junejo, Taimoor Salahuddin, and Umar Khan. One would assume that at least one of these influencers would’ve been invited to feature on the panel, considering their reach.
Prime Minister Imran Khan, in his opening remarks, reiterated the Government’s continued commitment to promoting tourism and the efforts made in light of this objective. Online visa services have been enabled for 175 countries with business visas for 90 countries and 55 countries being extended visas on arrival. There are plans to promote adventure travel as well as religious tourism. Conservation efforts are in full swing across the country- from Multan to Peshawar.
With so many exciting plans lined up, it would serve the government well to join forces with local vloggers, bloggers, and influencers. And while highlighting foreign travelers serves the purpose of encouraging tourism, no outsider is as equipped to portray as accurate a picture as locals are.