Aftab-ur-Rehman Rana, Managing Director of Pakistan Tourism Development Corporation (PTDC) and Tariq Tanveen, ECO of Agri Tourism Development Corporation signed a MoU to promote the concept of Sustainable Rural Tourism in Pakistan. The MoU ceremony was held at PTDC Head Office, Pak Secretariat Kohsar Block, Constitution Avenue, Islamabad on 13th May, 2022.
The purpose of this collaboration is to develop a working relationship between PTDC and ATDCP to Promote Agri-Tourism idea in Pakistan with a view to support farmers and agriculture sector through various interventions. Managing Director PTDC, Aftab ur Rehman Rana after signing the MoU said “Pakistan is mainly a rural country and tourism can greatly contribute for the socio-economic development of our rural areas which are otherwise neglected in the overall development agenda of government because usually more focus of government’s schemes is on the development of urban areas”. He said, “Promotion of rural tourism activities could help in strengthening the local, provincial and national economy and putting the country’s rural areas on the road to progress and development as the tourism helps in the development of rural areas and living standards of host communities”.
He further said, “Rural tourism encourages local communities to revive and preserve their traditions, crafts, traditional festivals, architecture and other unique practices. Recently, UNWTO has also launched the Best Tourism Villages initiative at global level to advance the role of tourism in valuing and safeguarding rural villages along with their associated landscapes, knowledge systems, biological and cultural diversity, agriculture, forestry, livestock and traditional cuisine”.
He informed that under the dynamic leadership of Mr. Tariq Tanveer, CEO of ATDCP has done groundbreaking work to promote the concept of Sustainable Rural tourism in Pakistan. Now PTDC and ATDCP will work together to take this concept to the next level. He said, 10 villages across Pakistan will be selected jointly by PTDC and ATDCP to develop them as model Rural Tourism Destinations in Pakistan and put them on the map of UNWTO Best Tourism Villages. For this purpose, awareness sessions, seminars, research projects, Agri-tourism festivals, training workshops, project development sessions and promotional activities will be jointly organized with active engagement of other key stakeholders including provincial tourism organizations, farmer associations and private sector bodies.