Chief Minister Gilgit Baltistan Hafiz Hafeez ur Rehman Tuesday said his region had tremendous potential for tourism but lack of good hotels was a major constraint.
Addressing business community at Islamabad Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ICCI) here, he urged private sector to invest in tourism in the GB to achieve lucrative results.
He said tourism was rapidly growing industry in the world with largest share in the GDP of 27 countries.
He said the number of tourists was increasing as in current year, 3500 foreign tourists visited the GB while the region attracted 20,000 to 25,000 domestic tourists.
He said three 5-star and four 3-star hotels were needed in the GB to facilitate tourists.
He said the GB government was providing tax exemptions on the import of machinery and equipment for mining, hoteling and packaging industries.
He said the government would provide electricity to industry at Rs 5.50 to Rs 6 per unit and urged that local investors should take benefit of these concessions to enhance investment in this region.
He said the GB had the potential to generate 40,000 MW hydropower, but this potential was ignored in the past.
He appreciated the prime minister for focusing on better development of this region and said work on Diamer Bhasha dam would start in 2017 as 48,000 acre land for this project had been acquired. The project would cost US$ 14 billion and would generate 4800 MW hydropower.
He said a regional grid would be constructed at a cost Rs 25 billion and a transmission line from the GB to Fateh Jhang at a cost US$ 3 billion to connect the GB with national grid.
He said only 10 percent work for the development of the GB had been completed so far and 90 percent was still remaining.
He said the GB government would focus on policy-making and would give major role to private sector for economic development.
He urged that business community should play role in the growth of business activities in this region, which were still unexplored and assured that his government would act as a facilitator.
Speaking on this occasion, ICCI President Khalid Iqbal Malik said the chamber would play role in highlighting investment potential of GB at every relevant forum to attract investment to this region.
He said a Special Economic Zone under China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) would be developed in the GB and stressed that investors of Potohar Region should be given a special package for investment in the said zone.
He said road network needs improvement in the GB and government should give land on lease for long-term period so that investors could make investment with confidence.
Senior Vice President Khalid Malik, Vice President ICCI Tahir Ayub, Zafar
Bakhtawari, Ejaz Abbasi, Naeem Siddiqui and others also addressed.