The amusement and recreational parks industry with multi-billion-rupees annual turnover has urged the federal government to consider taking it on board in its recent initiative of national tourism coordination board.
The national tourism coordination board recently formed to regulate religious, adventure, cultural and archaeological tourism can benefit from the expertise of amusement and recreational park industry to identify tax incentives, infrastructure and other facilities development like clubs and tourism branding required for boosting tourism in the country.
However, the discussion on the role of recreational industry in nurturing tourism in Pakistan was utterly overlooked.
“The representation from amusement park industry in the said board is quite essential to promote the tourism industry as the amusement parks in the country have an annual financial turnover of over Rs 20 billion, while thousands of people are employed by the industry,” said Inamullah Abdullah, COO of AA Joyland (Pvt) Ltd – the company that is running recreational parks and clubs in different cities of Pakistan including Aladdin Park Karachi, Pavilion End Club Karachi, Super Space Karachi & Hyderabad and Joyland Park Lahore & Islamabad for over 2 decades.
“This industry, with government support can boost the tourism industry substantially and provide a hefty foreign exchange and tax revenue for the government. Not only that, but this would also reduce the scarcity of jobs in Pakistan,” he added.
He gave examples of Disneyland and Universal Studios Adventure Park in USA which have contributed to the boom in tourism revenue. In 2015, Disneyland of Anaheim got waiver on admission tax for 30 years in return to the huge fragment of contribution to the economy of Southern California. Now, that Anaheim theme park is contributing over $5.7 billion dollars in annual economic activity and supports 55,000 jobs in SoCal.
Besides these examples, he also shined a light on how Dubai has devised an agenda to boost its tourism industry by 2020. Their experts at PwC have projected to see a number of 20 million tourists surging in Dubai by 2020. They are opting to make this projection possible by constructing and inaugurating theme parks like Marsa Al Arab, the new IMG Worlds of Legends theme park, a Formula One theme park at Dubai’s Motor City, Six Flags at Dubai Parks and Resorts and many hotels and other tourist attractions. All these plans are being lined-up to set the scene for Dubai’s Mega Expo in 2020.
“Our country has seen an increase in the number of foreign tourists during the last few years and it is high time that we tap into this opportunity and provide them with facilities like clubs and recreational parks besides our marvelous landscape to attract even more tourists and earn foreign exchange,” he added.
“Private sector can help the government to achieve its goals for the tourism industry and we are more than happy to help and generate huge revenue for the government,” Inam concluded.