Pakistan and Turkey agreed to establish a Centre of Excellence in Tourism and Hospitality Management in Islamabad, as the project was given final shape during a meeting between Federal Minister for Education Shafqat Mahmood and Turkish Deputy Minister for Culture and Tourism Dr Serdar Cam in Ankara.
Both the sides also explored further opportunities for the collaboration in education, technical training, culture and tourism sector. Briefing the Turkish dignitary about the potential of Pakistan’s tourism sector, Shafqat Mahmood said that the domestic tourism reached its peak during the current year but stressed on the need for more efforts to attract more foreign tourists.
Pakistan opened its doors to the world as the security situation has significantly changed. Pakistan’s e-visa policy is open for the citizens of 175 countries. Tourists seeking to obtain visas will be able to get it at their homes without visiting a Pakistani embassy or consulate. The system also facilitates a visa on arrival programme for other nationals arriving as tourists.
Pakistan also boasts major religious sites for Buddhists, Sikhs and Hindus, and attract a large number of visitors from around the world. Due to new policies, Pakistan regained status as a favoured tourist destination. Both the sides expressed the hope that the upcoming Pakistan visit of Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan will provide further momentum to bilateral ties.
A wide-ranging Strategic Economic Framework and the Plan of Action Document will be signed during the Turkish president’s visit to Pakistan for long-term economic cooperation in almost all sectors of the economy. Earlier, Pakistan delegation led by Shafqat Mehmood visited Turkish Cooperation and Coordination Agency (TIKA) headquarters and were briefed by its Vice President Prof Dr Birol Çetin about the organization’s global as well as Pakistan operations.
Since 2010 when TIKA office was established in Pakistan, the agency has undertaken about 148 projects in Pakistan in education, health, skill development, employment generation and women empowerment. Turkish side showed keen desire to do more projects in the area of technical education and vocational training.