State Minister for Information & Broadcasting Farrukh Habib said that the tourism sector was being actively promoted to strengthen the national economy and lead the country to progress and prosperity. Addressing a ceremony in connection with PIA flight operation from Faisalabad to Skardu at a local hotel late night on Sunday,the minister appreciated that Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) has started direct flights from Faisalabad to Skardu which will help promote tourism in line with the vision of Prime Minister Imran Khan. He said that Pakistan offers a treasure trove of gorgeous and very diverse natural beauty, adding the government has been taking steps to promote tourism. In this context, he said a new airport will be established in Gilgit. “As there is a lot of scope for tourism in Pakistan the government is concentrating to provide a conducive environment for promotion of tourism industry”, he said, and added that about four million people, including tourists from different countries, visited northern areas of Pakistan and the activity promoted the hotel industry also. Farukh Habib said that COVID-19 badly hit the global economy including the tourism sector, but the situation was gradually reverting to normalcy as coronavirus spread was being controlled vigilantly through careful planning and steps. “Therefore, we should take advantage of the favorable atmosphere and bring in precious foreign exchange by promoting tourism”. He appreciated PIA for initiating flight operation for Skardu from Faisalabad and said that PIA was offering safe,convenient travel to tourists on an easily affordable fare. However,he stressed the need to promote religious tourism and said that all resources would be utilized for the promotion of the tourism industry so that tourists from all over the world could flock to Pakistan to see its beautiful destinations and sites. State minister said the government was criticized for opening Kartarpur border but the step proved to be quite fruitful as lots of Sikh community members were coming to Pakistan to visit their religious site. He said that Faisalabad had great importance nationally and internationally. “The first economic zone of Pakistan was established in Faisalabad under CPEC”. He said a new airport could be established in Faisalabad on Sialkot model under public-private partnership. The government will provide all necessary facilities in this regard, he added. Earlier, District Manager PIA Faisalabad Shahid Hussain highlighted the details of flight operations from Faisalabad to Skardu. Provincial Minister for Culture & Colonies Mian Khayal Ahmad Kastro, Provincial Parliamentary Secretary Labor Mian Shakeel Shahid, Member Provincial Assembly Mian Waris Aziz, President Faisalabad Chamber of Commerce & Industry (FCCI) Engineer Hafiz Ehtesham Javed, President Faisalabad Women’s Chamber of Commerce & Industry (FWCCI) Tehmina Pasha, Chairman Hajj Umrah Committee Shafiq Kashif, PIA Union president Malik Waqar Ahmed were also present on the occasion.