SIALKOT: Chairman Departmental Committee on Travel and Tourism of Sialkot Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SCCI) Rana Nadeem has said that SCCI was making adequate efforts for the promotion of tourism industry on top priority basis.

Talking to Business Recorder on Monday, he said that due to lockdown, local and international tourism industries had experienced a sharp decline to 80 percent in their business during the start of current year and would observed a 60 percent decline during 2020.

Pakistan has been considered a promising destination for foreigners during mid December especially northern areas however this year it would be affected up to 40 percent as compared to past year, he pointed out.

Quoting a survey, he said businesses supporting 8,665 direct jobs in the tourism value chain and contributing 5 million dollars to the national economy through tourism receipts were the victims of the contagious in Pakistan.

The Chairman Departmental Committee further added that the peak within Europe had declined in recent past and countries were following the local tourist visit countries under strict SOPs. However, allowing international travelling and visas to international travellers (business or tourism) were still unclear. He said that exorbitant rates of air fare for special flights were adding to drop in the travelling while majority of embassies were closed amidst lockdown or accepting the visa applications virtually and human-less environment would also create dubious concern of application, upon rejection or return of their passports and visa applications.

“The unclear statements of immigration authorities either in Europe or the Middle East on the revival of incoming of international travellers in the global health emergency while isolation policies of different countries and states are also concerning for international travelling, long stay in hotel and cancellation of important exhibitions which have also affected the businesses across the globe,” he added.

Rana Nadeem further said that compliance of SOPs, maintaining hygiene, safety measures and social distancing should be ensured at every level to resume travelling and economic activities.