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Pakistan overhauls visa regime as it seeks to boost tourism figures

Pakistan overhauls visa regime as it seeks to boost tourism figures

Officials in Pakistan have announced a comprehensive overhaul of the country’s visa regime as the destination seeks to boost its tourism sector.

Visas on arrival will now be offered to visitors from over 50 countries, while electronic visas can now be obtained by 175 nationalities.

Pakistan information minister, Fawad Chaudhry, said: “Such a massive change in our visa regime has never taken place in the past.”

He expressed a hope that the step would help increase foreign investment and improve ties with other countries.

“We are going to open Pakistan to foreign journalists, businessmen, tourists and investors,” he added.

“We have mountain tourism, we have beach tourism,” Chaudhry told reporters in Islamabad, referring to Himalayan peaks and Arabian Sea beaches seldom visited by foreigners.


“Pakistan is a heaven for tourists.”

Details are still to be confirmed on which countries are to be offered new visa arrangements, but Chaudhry said in December most European nations would benefit.

The new visa regime comes after some countries eased travel advisories on Pakistan in light of improvements in security.

Tourists would also be allowed to visit the politically sensitive Himalayan region of Kashmir and other northern areas, which now require special permission.

The state Pakistan Tourism Development Corporation said last year tourist arrivals rose to 1.75 million in 2017.