BEIJING: According to official data available with NPTV China has the world’s largest number of outbound tourists.
The number of trips made by Chinese people to other countries or regions reached 135 million in 2016, compared to 5 million in 1995, data released by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) showed.
This represents an annual increase of 17.6 percent on average over 21 years, said the NBS. China has been the country with most outbound tourists in annual terms since 2013, according to the NBS.
China’s outbound tourism market is estimated to increase by 5 percent annually on average in the coming years, bringing the number of outbound tourists to 157 million in 2020, according to the China Tourism Academy, a think tank under the Ministry of Culture and Tourism.
Railways to be established on modern lines
ISLAMABAD: Parliamentary Secretary for Railways Farrukh Habib said that Pakistan Railways (PR) would be established on modern line by ensuring compliance with all international standards to make it self-sufficient.
Talking to the media here at PR Headquarters, he said that the government would focus on actual initiatives and Pakistan Railways would be brought at par with railway system of neighboring and European countries.
To a question, he said that the fiscal deficit, inherited from the previous regime, was one of the major challenges being faced by the
present government, adding that PR was being provided with Rs 37 billion subsidy by the government to meet its financial requirements.
Parliamentary Secretary mentioned that they were exploring the ways and means to reduce the PR fiscal deficit and enhance its revenue targets especially the freight side, having immense potential of growth.
He said that PR was also set to install Wi-Fi internet in trains to facilitate passengers, adding that as per Prime Minister’s vision, the security and safety of the passengers was most important, for which the PR Postal Company was further improving the insurance system and railways’ regular passengers would have more attractive packages.
Farrukh Habib continued that like PIA, the PR was also putting in place a system for train passengers so as to provide them with online TNR (Ticket Number for Reservation), and they would not have to go to PR reservation offices and get their rail ticket reserved at their homes instead.
To another question, he said that it was government’s priority to develop IT (Information Technology) related plan of Pakistan Railways speedily and effectively, besides putting in place best financial system and ensuring the safety of the passengers. Track and signaling system of railways would also be improved. Pakistan Railways was also planning to generate enhanced revenues from its commercial lands, he mentioned and opined that increased resources would also help better care and welfare of the railways’ employees.
He said that past governments had never given that much importance to Pakistan Railways as it had deserved, asserting that railway system was a strategic asset of Pakistan.
Railways announces winter timetable for trains
LAHORE: Pakistan Railways has announced a new trains schedule (timetable), to be implemented from 15th Oct with some important changes.
According to a PR spokesman, additional stopovers had been given to nine trains whereas departure time of 18 Up and Down trains has been re-scheduled under the new timetable. Allama Iqbal Express will stop at Bahawalpur railway station for four minutes instead of two minutes, Khushhal Khan Khatak Express will stop at Joharabad for eight minutes instead of five minutes, Jaafar Express will stop at Jacobabad for 10 minutes instead of seven minutes and Pak Business Express train will stop at Raiwind railway station for four minutes instead of two minutes.
Names of two trains have been changed and now 43-Up/44-Down Night Coach between Lahore and Karachi will be called Shah Hussain Express train while 253-Up/254-Down Sargodha-Lalmusa mixed train will be called Karana Passenger train.
The railways has regularised five trains including 109-Up/110-Down Rawalpindi Express, 119-Up/120-Down Faisalabad Express, 175-Up/176-Down Mianwali Railcar, 211-Up/212-Down Narowal Passenger and PDK 5-Up/6-Down Shuttle train between Pind Dadan Khan and Malakwal. The destination of 101-Up Subak Raftar train has been changed from Margala railway station to Rawalpindi. The PR has also changed the schedule for 179-Up/180-Down Badin Express weekly train, which runs between Hyderabad and Badin and now this train will return on the same day (Monday) instead of the next day.
Sino-Pak universities to promote agri. tourism
MULTAN:: Universities of Pakistan and China have decided to promote agriculture tourism with an objective to explore economic opportunities and improve people-to-people contacts between the two countries.
Muhammad Nawaz Sharif of University of Agriculture Multan (MNS-UAM) has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the International Institute of Business and Economics (Qinhuangdao Hebei-China) to help promote agriculture tourism in both the countries.
This was stated by Dean of Agriculture and Environment Professor Dr. Shafqat Saeed while talking to the Media here today. He visited China in the recent past and inked the agreement for cooperation to promote agriculture tourism. He said that it would be an excellent opportunity for the peoples of the two countries to experience and learn about a lifestyle that was quite different than their own.
The Dean said that agricultural tourism was a worldwide trend, which offered city dwellers a chance to escape urban concrete and re-discover their rural roots. Agricultural tourism is a relatively new market for tourists and entrepreneurs. He said that the reaction of individuals with farm life also carries an educational aspect, along with business opportunities. People tend to enjoy learning about items and processes that they will not participate directly. Agri-tourism is becoming an important activity to develop opportunities as more population has moved to cities and have lost their connection to where agriculture is done, added Dr Shafqat.
He said the agri-tourism also includes a set of economic and social activities that occur and link travel with the products, services, and experiences of agriculture fields.
To another question about the new trend at the international level, he said that agricultural tourism has seen a boost in popularity in the recent years at international level. It allowed people to stay at fully functioning farms in order to observe the work routines and activities that are carried out in the agriculture business on a day-to-day basis.
When asked how the Nawaz Sharif University of Agriculture can help Chinese agri-tourists during their Pakistan visit, Dr. Shafqat Saeed said that Pakistan, especially south Punjab, had many agricultural recreational sites and harvest festivals. He said that Chinese entrepreneurs, farmers, or other tourists would visit mango and citrus orchards etc., and also enjoy local harvesting season festivals. They could observe the working of our farmers in orchards and other agriculture fields. They could observe our culture, our traditions, hospitality and also explore business opportunities. He said that the University of Agriculture would facilitate visitors in many ways. It would help in making complete visit plans, business plans and provide guides so that the tourists could have a maximum awareness of our agricultural activities and business opportunities.
Dr. Shafqat said that agriculture tourism would bring the peoples of two countries closer to each other and they would learn innovations from their mutual experiences.
Similarly, China also holds summer camps. Pakistani farmers, entrepreneurs, and others could visit China. Both universities would facilitate the citizens of the friendly countries, he concluded.