Islamabad, Sep 30 (IANS) Tourist traffic at cultural sites in Pakistan has seen a massive increase of 317 per cent over the past five years with Punjab provinces contribution being nearly 95 per cent, according to a report.
The report, “Cultural Heritage and Museum Visits in Pakistan” by Gallup Pakistan, a research organisation affiliated with Gallup International Association, has indicated that tourism could be a potential game changer that could revitalise the struggling economy of the country, Dawn news reported.
According to the report, from approximately 1.6 million visits in 2014, the tourist traffic at cultural sites rose to 6.6 million visits in 2018, a 317 per cent increase in a span of five years.
Punjab, as the largest and most populated province, contributed approximately 95 per cent whereas tourist traffic in Sindh and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa fluctuated over the years.
Total visits by foreigners increased by more than two folds for both cultural and museum sites in Pakistan. Over the past five years, the percentage of foreign visitors to museums rose by approximately 130 per cent whereas foreign visitors to cultural sites rose by 100 per cent.
Speaking to Dawn, Bilal Ghani of Gallup Pakistan said: “We have observed 15 to 20 per cent increase in local and foreign visitors. Interest in museums is continuously increasing.”
The report stated that the Shahi Qila in Lahore was the most popular cultural site. The Shalimar Garden, Lahore, was the second most popular site in 2016 and 2018, and the Hiran Minar in Sheikhupura was the second most visited site in 2017.
The third most popular site in 2016 was Jehangir’s tomb, Lahore. In 2017 it was the ancient Buddhist monastic complex Takht-i-Bahi in Mardan that was the most visited and in 2018 it was the Hiran Minar.