President Dr Arif Alvi has launched the commercial helicopter flight services of Kashmir Air in Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) as part of an effort to promote tourism in the region.
The president, addressing the launching ceremony of Kashmir Air, at Bagh, said the AJK was blessed with immense natural beauty and tourism potential, and the private sector should come forward to develop its tourism sector.
Kashmir Air is a private company that will launch regular commercial helicopter flights to the AJK and other parts of northern Pakistan to transport visitors.
During his day-long stay in the AJK, the president launched the helicopter flight service, visited a newly established high-end private school, and the flagship campus of a healthcare Information Technology company at Bagh, and was briefed on the establishment of a hospital at Abbaspur.
The president urged the AJK government to promote environmentally responsible and sustainable tourism in addition to developing regulations that will encourage private investment in the industry.
He stated that tourism was now a major industry in many developing nations and was seen as a key driver of foreign exchange earnings, employment creation, and the elimination of economic inequalities.
He urged AJK to adopt an integrated approach to tourism planning and added that it was important to carefully evaluate the impacts of tourism on the area’s economy, society, and environment. He also called for the creation of connections between stakeholders, businesses, resources, and tourism-related activities.
According to President Alvi, Pakistan has a large pool of young people and women who, with the right education and training, could contribute to the country’s economy in the future.
In order to give youth, particularly women, gainful work in their own region, he emphasized the importance of providing technical and vocational skills and training to AJK’s youth in the tourism and hospitality sector.
President Alvi said that the IT sector was akin to a “fast train”, that could help Pakistan achieve accelerated economic growth with little investment as compared to traditional brick-and-mortar dependent infrastructure development.
During his visit to the school, the president appreciated the private sector for providing quality education to students of AJK to help improve the education standard.