It is very encouraging to see that all the provinces are involved actively in promoting tourism and new initiatives are being launched.
by Fraaz Mahmud Kasuri
Tell us something about yourself.
First of all, thank you COTHM for giving me this opportunity to introduce myself. Hailing from a working-class family, I am Muhammad Tanveer Jabbar, Master’s in Economics and belong to Punjab Management Services. Served in a number of departments with government of Punjab, presently, I am in grade 20, serving as Managing Director Tourism Development Corporation of Punjab (TDCP). Tourism is a passion for me and I love to work somewhere I can make a difference. In our life, we cannot always do great things, but, as Mother Teresa said, we can always do small things with great love. At the end it is not only about making a living, it is about making a difference. I am a person who is positive about every aspect of life.
How does TDCP operate?
The role of TDCP is important for the development and promotion of tourism industry in Punjab. After about 33 years, the organization achieved successes in developing resorts, recreational destinations, new tourist destinations and sightseeing buses. TDCP is proud to be the pioneer in organizing the introduction of Motor Sports Tourism like Cholistan Jeep Rally which is now being replicated throughout the country as a tool of tourism promotion and socio-economic development in their respective region. TDCP ITHM is also playing an important role in providing skilled manpower to the tourism stakeholders. However, still there is enough room for improvement.
Has tourism been given due importance in Punjab in the past?
Tourism has never been given so much importance by the government as of today. The department of Tourism has formulated Punjab’s first tourism policy according to the vision of the Prime Minister Imran Khan and the guidelines of Punjab Chief Minister Sardar Usman Ahmed Khan Buzdar. Under the kind patronage of worthy Minister Muhammad Taimoor Khan, an action plan for the implementation on policy guidelines has also been prepared. By implementing this policy, the unexploited potential of the tourism sector can be unlocked and tapped to contribute to the economic growth. With such initiatives of the government, Punjab can look forward to revamp its tourism sector to take its rightful place in the country’s development with the leading role of the private sector.
What is your contribution towards tourism in Punjab?
I have served in TDCP as general manager operations for about five years and I can understand the areas which are required to be strengthened. I am glad to inform that TDCP has got enough development funds and there are 39 development schemes including 18 new schemes. The focus of the government is to explore and develop new tourist destinations in the districts having potential like Kotli Sattian, Chakwal, Attock, Khushab, Mianwali and Dera Ghazi Khan. We are also involved in developing feasible projects for the private sector. We have another scheme with the title of Showcasing Punjab for effective marketing, branding and publicity of Punjab’s tourism potential. The prime objective is to transform Punjab into a preferred tourist destination for national and international tourists.
What are the future plans of TDCP?
We are committed to upgrade and develop state of the art infrastructure and to standardize all the segments of tourism to support sustainable growth in this sector by providing opportunities to the private sector and in continuation of that TDCP has recently involved tour operators in devising tour packages and event management committee, signed MoUs with McDonalds, KFC, Daewoo and Uzbekistan’s mayor for different joint ventures.
How do you see the efforts of private sector in uplifting tourism?
I strongly believe that government’s role in tourism sector is to encourage and facilitate private sector and it is the private sector that is to lead.
How does TDCP distinguish Punjab among other provinces?
It is very encouraging to see that all the provinces are involved actively in promoting tourism and new initiatives are being launched. Punjab Tourism under the vibrant leadership of its minister will definitely contribute effectively in promoting tourism for the economic development to meet the vision of prime minister and chief minister.
Any message for the readers?
In the end, I must appreciate and feel proud that gradually COTHM has become Pakistan’s leading hospitality & tourism institute. It has a variety of programmes duly affiliated with international partners. It is encouraging to see that COTHM is contributing effectively to supply excellent skilled manpower to the tourism industry with in Pakistan and abroad. I Congratulate Mr Ahmad Shafiq, the founder & CEO of COTHM, for his outstanding services as an educator and a wonderful business leader in the hospitality, travel and tourism industry.