The commemorative postage stamp will be available for sale on and from January 1, 1967 at all important Post Offices Philatelic Bureaux and Philatelic Counters in Pakistan and also at some of the Pakistan Diplomatic Missions abroad.
There are very few occasions when the United Nations General Assembly puts on record a unanimous vote. The Resolu-tion adopted by the General Assembly on November 4, 1966, designating the Year 1967 as “International Tourist Year” was one of such exceptional occasions. In response thereto Pakistan Post Office is issuing a postage stamp of 15 Paisa denomination on the 1st of January, 1967.
This, indeed, is a major step in the direction of fostering better understanding among people of diverse nationalities, creeds and cultures and strengthening peace in the world by inculcating a greater awareness and bringing about a better appreciation of the inherent values of different cultures and civilizations which, collectively, are a common heritage of the human race. The theme of the slogan, “Tourism, Passport to Peace” adopted for celebrating the “International Tourist Year—1967” could, there-fore, hardly be improved upon.
The idea of the “International Tourist Year” was sponsored in March, 1966 by the United Nations Economic and Social Council at the behest of the International Union of Official Travel Organisations which has a membership of 103 countries. The IUOTO, after considerable study and survey, made exhaus-tive recommendations to the National Tourist Organisations of its member countries to adopt special measures in such fields of touristic activity as information, education, facilitation, deve-lopment, promotion and research to make the International Tourist Year a success.
The economic benefits of such a venture are obvious and abundant. But the primary object of launching 1967 as the International Tourist Year is to encourage understanding, toler-ance and goodwill amongst peoples through direct contact. For travel in alien lands and unfamiliar surroundings, while on one hand, helps in widening one’s perspective and broadening one’s outlook, on the other, it gives a close insight and apprecia-tion of problems that beset one’s fellowmen in lands far and near.
The “International Tourist Year, 1967” could, therefore, be described both as a crusade against ignorance and prejudice and a ‘Getting-to-know’ campaign. More so in respect of the underdeveloped and developing countries, which, after centuries of relative oblivion, are now making an increasing impact on contemporary life and thought.
As an industry, Tourism is responsible for 6 per cent of world’s goods exports. It thus is the single largest industry in the world today. In Pakistan, apart from being a major vehicle for generating goodwill and better understanding among foreign nationals, Tourism is fast becoming one of the main sour-ces of foreign exchange earning. This can be assessed from the fact that earnings in the field of Tourism jumped from Rs. 3.87 crores from 33,549 foreign tourists in 1956 to Rs. 11.77 crores from 73,691 tourists in 1966. According to projections given in the Master Plan for the Development of Tourism in Pakistan, the tourist spending will rise beyond Rs. 13 crores in 1970 and would be well over Rs. 56 crores by 1985, when the targets enun-ciated for the development of the tourist infrastructure have been fully realised.
To make these targets possible of achievement as well as to foster friendly feelings towards Pakistan amongst our foreign guests, the Department of Tourism have chalked out elaborate plans for successful celebration of the “International Tourist Year, 1967”.
Blessed as Pakistan is with a landscape varied and exciting, it can offer the visiting tourist a galaxy of attractions ranging from lofty, snow-covered mountains, lush green valleys, rich ramlands and lovely beaches to sunscorched deserts. The re-mains of some of the oldest known civilisations are to be found here as are some of the most beautiful specimens of architecture. There are tribal people in Pakistan who lead their colourful and contented lives in simple environments, just as the Royal Bengal Tiger still rules supreme in the thick tropical forests of the Sunder-bans. For the game-lovers, there is a large variety of big and small game as well as angling and deep-sea fishing. Exquisite specimens of centuries old craftsmanship await the souvenir-hunter in every town and region of the country.
Pakistan is one of the most rapidly developing countries in the world. Indeed, there are independent observers, who, after witnessing its pace of developments, consider it to be a ‘model’ in this field. Presently, the Third Five Year Plan is under way, offering excellent opportunities for investment. As an active and respected member of the international comity of nations, Pakistan proposes to celebrate the International Tourist Year in a befitting manner. The Department of Tourism, in collaboration with other Government and semi-Government as well as private agencies has undertaken an extensive pro-gramme for offering maximum facilities and traditional hospi-tality to the foreign guests arriving in Pakistan. Cities and spots of tourist attraction are being beautified, the presentational aspect of historical and archaeological sites is being improved upon, efforts are being made to provide better and swifter means of transport including conducted sight-seeing tours, special confessional rates are being offered by leading hotels and trans-porters, activities in the field of cultural projections are being stepped up by organising special fairs and festivals at national as well as international levels, frontier formalities have been liberalised, police registration of tourists abolished for a stay of 30 days in the country and areas of tourist attraction opened up. To provide better information facilities to foreign visitors, promotional tourist offices are being opened in the major tourist providing areas, the existing network of tourist offices and information Centres within the country is being further expanded and a fully trained cadre of Tourist Guides has been raised to operate in both wings of the country. Similar steps are also being taken for the promotion of domestic tourism. To make our own people travel-minded, special publicity campaigns have been devised and a number of incentives are being offered.