Thursday, July 17, 2008

Sikh tourism can help Pak earn 500 mln dlrs

By promoting Sikh tourism and allowing Sikh tourists to land directly at the Lahore Airport, Pakistan can earn up to 500 million dollars per year, a visiting editor of a local paper in Amritsar, India, said in Lahore.

He said that around 20,000 Sikh pilgrims visited Pakistan each year to participate in four major religious events, but if Sikh tourism was promoted, the number could reach up to five lakh.

He said that if the Lahore Airport were opened for Sikhs, about half a million Sikhs would visit Pakistan every year. The Pakistan government was considering increasing the number of Sikh events in a year from four to nine, Brar said and added that the decision would enable thousands of Sikhs to visit Pakistan every month.

Baljit Singh Brar, the editor of daily 'Aj Di Awaaz' and monthly 'Punjab Times', is in Pakistan to visit Sikh religious sites, reported the Daily Times.

The Lahore Airport was better compared to the Amritsar Airport, Brar said and added that it would be beneficial to Sikh traders, who otherwise had to land at Delhi airport, which was quite a distance from Amritsar.

The Indo-Pak visa treaty, which restricts the issuance of tourist visas for travel between the countries, should be amended, he said an added that tourist visas should be given to applicants on a war footing basis in order to promote Sikh tourism in Pakistan.