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Significance of religious tourism for Pakistan

‘The early bird catches the worm’ is a proverb that is a best fit for the contemporary world, which has been changing in several ways. If any country aspires to get benefits, then the right decisions at the right time are essential factors to fulfill that goal.

If I talk about one of the lucrative sectors, religious tourism has a strong position on the list. Religious tourism is the pioneering form of tourism that began almost with the dawn of humanity.

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The tourism sector has also been evolving, now it has grown to be a vital part of many countries’ economies. Today, more than a billion people travel internationally, with around half of these journeys destined for developing countries to experience the ancient civilizations, holy places, heritages, and many more.

I feel proud to say that Pakistan is one of some countries in the world, which has a diverse culture and finest tourist places; from Karachi to Kashmir, you will find a worth-seeing chapter because Pakistan is home to major religions like Islam, Sikhism, Hinduism, and Buddhism. The Pakistan Tourism Development Corporation (PTDC) identified 480 locations for inbound tourism alone. Among them, more than 146 are related to religious tourism. I want to mention here famous and holy places for the above religions.

Hinduism’s holy places are on top of the list. 3280 temples are in Pakistan and most temples are in Sindh. Katas Raj Temple in Chakwal and Jagannath temple in Sialkot are famous among them.

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Sikhism’s holy places come after. Their love for Pakistan is enormous because according to some credible sources, 270 gurdwaras are in Pakistan and the birthplace of Baba Guru Nanak in Nankana Sahib, and Gurudwara Panja Sahib in Hassan Abdal, Punjab are prominent ones.

Buddhists also have one of their ancient monasteries in Pakistan. Takht-i-Bahii and Sahr-i-Bahlol are the most imposing relics of Buddhism in the Gandhara region of Pakistan, where many monks visit every year.

I have conveyed some concise facts to portray how these religions consider Pakistan a must-visit place. Our special treatment towards these facts can boom our economic growth and the positive image as a peaceful county in the world.

Don’t go far, if we look within the Asian continent, Indonesia and Sri Lanka are adding billions of dollars through religious tourism, because they took the right steps at the right time. So, why we are not among them.

Pakistan has done quite well as the Kartarpur Corridor is a notable achievement. But we must go beyond just focusing on one religion. Because this sector growth depends on security and best management.

Pakistan should take extra measures to ensure the protection of these places, as well as work on the value addition of these places like building some hotels and restaurants there to increase the spending of visitors.

Written by Wajid Ali | Lahore


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