SAARC region must develop tourism beyond boundaries:
Chamber calls for joint branding effort
The SAARC region needs strong branding to unleash the tremendous
potential in tourism and an integrated approach to develop tourism
beyond national boundaries. “We need to work on common interest in an
joint effort to develop tourism to trigger a chain of economic
activities. This should be led by successful regional cooperation and
liberalization of visa regime where multiple country visa for SAARC
region could be made available, SAARC Chamber of Commerce and Industries
President Annisul Huq said.
The theme for tourism promotion by the SAARC region should be under
“Visit South Asia” slogan where a window of opportunities could be
It is important to create a common website with historical heritage,
spectacular beauty of lands and green seas to attract travellers, he
A workshop on regional consultation on tourism potential in South
Asia was held in Colombo yesterday organized jointly by SAARC Chamber of
Commerce and Federation of Chamber of Commerce and Industries. South
Asia accounts for 23 percent of the world population which is 1.54
billion people and nearly 5 percent of the world map.
However, in the commercial world of trade, South Asia contributes
only 2 percent of GDP, 1.5 percent of imports and 1 percent of exports
and below 5 percent of intra-regional trade.
Tourism is the fastest growing single biggest industry that generates
a large number of employment opportunities and accounts for 11 percent
of the world GDP.
Total tourism revenue of the world for 2008 was $ 942 billion which
on global financial crisis decreased to $ 852 billion in 2009.
SAARC region accounted only for $ 15.1 billion which was 0.12 percent
of the total tourism revenue of the world. Over 800 million tourists
were at various destinations of the world out of which 10 million or
0.13 percent received by South Asia last year. According to ADB research
findings, South Asian countries rank high on price competitiveness.
However, they rank low on other indications such as level of basic
infrastructure development, awareness of environmental aspects of
development, advance in modern technological systems and infrastructure,
human resources in tourism activity, tourism openness and social
development. “We should have a regional perspective in tourism planning
in South Asian region and a joint effort to identify commonalities to
evolve a common strategy.
It is necessary to improve on connectivity in South Asia to
facilitate comfortable travel and encourage tourism,” he said.