Irshad B Anjum “People will forget what you said, forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” – Maya Angelou And the Pakistani hospitality sector, without a doubt, makes its guests, both domestic and foreign, feel very welcome and great. Proof? The sector’s growth over the decade attests to its efficiency, professionalism, and potential for expansion. The hospitality industry in Pakistan is a growing sector that offers a range of services, including hotels, restaurants, and tourist attractions. The industry has been growing in recent years due to an increase in both domestic and international tourism. Pakistan has a rich cultural heritage and diverse natural landscapes, making it an attractive destination for travelers. In 2018, the British Backpacker Society named Pakistan number one after extensively traveling far and wide across the country. Pakistan’s mountainous areas are one of the most attractive tourist destinations, and the country also houses several heritage sites. While tourism has increased over the years, the tourism industry still faces several challenges, including inadequate infrastructure, limited access to financing, and a shortage of skilled workers. In addition, security concerns and political instability have deterred some tourists from visiting the country, leading to a decrease in tourism and revenue for the hospitality industry. Despite these challenges, the industry has gained pace over the years. In the private sector, many old hotels have reimagined themselves and relaunched with better facilities at new venues. With the security situation becoming better and the increase in tourism, several new hotels have also emerged. While most of the growth has been done by the private sector, the government has also aided the industry by promoting tourism. Without the government’s support there would not have been enough tourism to promote the hospitality industry. The country was named the Best New Exhibitor at the Travel and Adventure Show 2023 in New York due to the government’s efforts in implementing policies for safe and adventurous tourism. The government has also played a crucial role in promoting and maintaining heritage sites. However, government-owned hotels in the country and outside of it are suffering due to poor management policies and a lack of investment. The government of Pakistan owns all of the Pakistan Tourism Development Corporation’s motels and resorts. In previous years, many of these were in operation and provided low-cost accommodations to travelers. The facilities were basic but comfortable and many people preferred them over other hotels due to the low prices and prime locations. However, since 2020, all motels have been closed, primarily due to a lack of funding. According to sources, there have been talks of leasing these motels to the private sector. The government has been unable to keep the standards of its hotels high. Other than the PTDC motels and resorts, the government also owned hotels such as the Karachi Airport Hotel, Cecil’s (Murree), Dean’s (Peshawar), Faletti’s (Lahore), and Flashman’s (Rawalpindi). All of these except Flashman’s and the Karachi Airport Hotel were privatized in various years. Since their privatization, they have reached new heights and turned out to be profitable. You visit Faletti’s anytime of the day, you will be welcomed by professional staff. The hotel offers international-level best hospitality services. The hospitality industry is a highly competitive and complex sector that requires specialized knowledge, dedicated care, a personal touch, and heartfelt expertise. While the government may have the resources to start a hotel, it lacks the experience and skills necessary to manage and operate it effectively. This could lead to inefficiencies and a poor guest experience, ultimately hurting the reputation of the hotel and the government. Moreover, the hospitality industry is subject to market fluctuations, making it a risky venture for a government to undertake. The government should not risk taxpayer funds on a venture that may not yield the desired returns, especially when other pressing needs require funding. Additionally, the hospitality industry in the private sector is doing quite well in the country. Many hotels have emerged and have been profitable. This is because the industry is competitive, and only the private sector can provide certain services without adding dead weight. The government, on the other hand, is keen on providing jobs to people who are not needed, which eventually becomes a burden and turns the business into a loss. While the private sector only hires trained personnel and hospitality industry experts. It would be beneficial for the government to sell or at least lease out its hotels and resorts to the private sector. This way, the government will be able to earn revenue, and the hospitality industry will grow along with growing tourism. With redundant businesses, the government is only incurring losses by paying the employees of now-closed hotels. Once the private sector takes over, taxes could be earned through these hotels, and the losses currently being incurred will be eradicated. Currently, plans for leasing all PTDC hotels are underway, and there have been talks about leasing PIA’s property, the Roosevelt Hotel in Manhattan, New York, to make these ventures profitable. This is a good initiative, as the government is not equipped to run these vast ventures profitably. Overall, the hospitality industry in Pakistan has great growth potential, and with continued support from the government, the private sector can actually turn around the hospitality industry in Pakistan. The writer is the pioneer of modern hospitality professionalism in Pakistan.