Prime Minister Imran Khan on Friday said owing to Pakistan’s immense tourism potential, the government was focused on exploring the sector for revenue and employment generation. “Pakistan can earn money from tourism alone, both local and international, by revamping the infrastructure and ensuring facilities for the tourists,” the prime minister said at a cheques distribution ceremony here under the Ehsaas Scholarship and Kamyab Jawan programmes. The prime minister, who earlier inaugurated the Kohsar University at the hill resort of Murree, said the world class institution would play a key role in imparting the local students necessary skills in hotel management and tourism. Imran Khan said education was vital in the development of a nation as none could progress without attaining higher learning. Education about tourism would help the new generation learn proper techniques to pursue a career in the booming sector, he added. He said the previous government spent Rs 830 million on the beautification of the Punjab House for their personal use, but the facility was now being opened for the tourists. The prime minister mentioned that Pakistan’s northern areas, its deserts and the areas of Balochistan offered a diverse range of tourist destinations. He said Pakistan’s domestic tourism had now doubled and once the pandemic was over, tourists from across the world would be visiting the country. He said Switzerland, which was half the size of Pakistan’s northern areas and even did not match its breathtaking natural beauty, was earning 60 to 80 billion US dollars annually from tourism alone. Pakistan, he said, had far more scenic areas which could boost its tourism potential. Imran Khan regretted that the previous governments used the beautiful Murree resort for rest and recreation only, but did not bother to construct even a single good hospital. He said his government was now constructing a hospital spread over 370 kanals in Murree. The prime minister said the uplift of poor and neglected sections of the society was the key to a nation’s progress. He had learned from the life of Holy Prophet Muhammad (Peace Be Upon Him) that serving the poor and downtrodden people brought blessings of Allah Almighty and led to prosperity. He said the Scandinavian countries had followed the principles of humanity and brought in prosperity for their people. Imran Khan referred to a UNDP (United Nations Development Programme) report, which clearly mentioned that Khyber Pakhtunkhwa had progressed significantly after the year 2013, as the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf government focused on uplifting its poor and neglected sectors of the society. Similarly, he said, it was his desire to emulate the example across the country. Speaking on the occasion, Punjab Chief Minister Usman Buzdar said the provincial government would develop Kotli Sattian as a tourist point just like Murree. He said tourism, health and education projects for Murree would cost around Rs 7.8 billion, which would not only facilitate the tourists but the local residents also. He said the inauguration of Kohsar University and introducing tourism as a discipline there was also part of the government’s efforts to promote the sector. Moreover, the boys and girls colleges of Kahuta, Kotli Sattian and Kalar Syedan would also be upgraded at the cost of Rs 1.13 billion, he added. Usman Buzdar also announced the upgradation of Muree Municipal Committee to Municipal Corporation, building of a new parking plaza, new building laws and lifting of ban from new construction in the city. He also committed for the construction of a tourist highway to connect Murree with Kotli Sattian and water supply projects for the city. Member of the National Assembly Sadaqat Abbasi said the inauguration of Kohsar University was in line with the prime minister’s vision to promote tourism in the country. He said the government would carry out joint ventures with private firms to execute tourism projects for creating jobs and economic activity in the area. He said a Mall Road-II had been planned on the Murree Expressway where the multinational food chains would open their outlets and the project would be executed without costing any public money. Abbasi told the gathering that five colleges in the cities around Murree would be affiliated with the Kohsar University. He requested the prime minister to direct for early planning of the tourist corridor to link Murree with Kahuta. Earlier, the prime minister was informed that the Kohsar University would be offering courses in Sciences, Arts, Travel and Tourism, and Hotel Management, and would be affiliated with international universities. The prime minister also planted a sapling in Murree as part of his Clean and Green Pakistan campaign and launched the up-gradation project of the Tuberculosis Sanatorium.