The government of Pakistan announced on Friday 25th that it will be easing travel restrictions in the hopes of attracting more foreign visitors. Pakistan will offer a visa on arrival to citizens of 50 countries. At the same time, Pakistan will introduce an electronic visa system for citizens of 175 countries.
The Pakistani cabinet approved the new visa reforms during a meeting between Prime Minister Imran Khan and Chief of Army Staff General Qamar Javed Bajwa. The introduction of new visas would open up a new era for the tourism industry in Pakistan. According to the Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry, following the September 11 attacks in 2001, Pakistan's tourism industry was devastated. Chaudhry said, "we have mountain tourism, we have beach tourism" in reference to the Himalayan peaks and the Arabian Sea beaches that are rarely visited by foreigners. "Pakistan is a heaven for tourists", he added.
The countries that will benefit from the new rules have not been identified yet. However, back in December, Chaudhry told Reuters that most European nationals would benefit from the visa on arrival. Tourists would be allowed to visit the politically sensitive region of Kashmir and other northern areas, which at this time required special authorization.
The new visa reforms and regulations would ease travel restrictions on foreign journalists. Journalist visas will be processed through the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, and some will be granted long-term visas without any difficulties.
The electronic visa for Pakistan
The Pakistan Express Tribune reported that "the new visa regime comes after some countries eased travel advisories on Pakistan." During the 70s, Pakistan was a more prominent tourist destination. However, security deteriorated in the years that followed. Not only that, but the country imposed a harsh interpretation of Islamic laws that drove tourist away.
Security in Pakistan has improved greatly in recent years. Terrorist attacks have gone down significantly and it is safe to travel to the country. The Pakistan Tourism Development Corporation said last year that tourist arrivals rose to 1.75 million visitors in 2017. The visa regime is a move to bring in more foreign
Electronic visas are being introduced by many countries. An electronic visa system for Pakistan would allow foreign visitors to complete an online application with their personal details and passport data. Most electronic visa systems require that applicants pay a visa fee in order to process their application. Once approved, the e-Visa is usually sent to the traveler's inbox.
Why Visit Pakistan
Set in South Asia, Pakistan is blessed with natural resources and historical heritage. Because it has been plagued by political instability adventurers and curious travelers have stayed away. Pakistan is one of the most fascinating destinations in Asia. The northern area has changed very little since Mughal times, which means that a lot of its natural beuty remains untouched. Besides impressive mountains, there are scatted ruins and arid desserts.
There are many reasons to visit Pakistan, among them, their kind and hospitable people. The country is home to breathtaking landscapes that include valleys, rivers, glaciers, and forests. Foreign visitors will be able to visit the historical Silk Road. Nature lovers and hiking fans and experts will have plenty to explore once they arrive in this beautiful country.