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Promote, support and foster hospitality sector of Pakistan

Pakistan is a country of natural beauty, hilly mountains, longest beach, favorable climate, four seasons which are the key factors to develop eco-tourism, sustainable tourism and rural tourism. Pakistan has many archeological and historical sites too. And the hospitality of people and local culture, life style is a unique selling point. Tourism is a growing industry in Pakistan. Pakistan doesn’t not have much big hotels but have a lot of small hotels and motels in almost every city especially in the northern areas of Pakistan.

Tourism and hospitality are favorable for the countries that are under developed and people are seeking for the opportunities, even if there are many challenges.The hospitality industry is considered as one of the largest industry in every nation and it can help the country gain additional economic improvements. Tourism is one of the top five export categories for as many as 80 percent of the countries and is a main source of foreign exchange earnings of at least 33 percent of countries. Many developed countries like USA, UK, and Italyare ruling the industry. But the scenario of many Asian countries like Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Maldives, Thailand, Malaysia, Nepal, show that tourist are attracted to the climate, nature, and overall beauty of these spots.

Tourism and other hospitality businesses can provide an opportunity to introduce the beauty of Pakistan as well and at the same time, maintaining its beauty for the sake of the future. Pakistan is a developing country, which draws interest in the tourism because of its potentials. Moreover, Pakistan has been an attractive destination for tourists. But at present, its position is not significant in terms of the international tourism market. The hospitality management is in the middle of risky decisions. First is the challenge in terms of the acceptability of foreign tourists in the country and second is the challenge of economic situation of Pakistan.

Due to the nature of its services, the hospitality industry is closely related to other industries including the tourism industry. This is one reason because of which the global hospitality industry is seeing an upward trend. The Pakistani economy also seems to benefit from the positive injections that hospitality industry offers. Hotel demand in Islamabad,Karachi, and Lahore are primarily driven by the commercial segment, consisting of individuals travelling for business and conferences, along with foreign business travelers primarily booking the branded hotels through their Global Distribution System (GDS). The Airline segment is the next largest contributor to the demand in these three main cities of Pakistan. Islamabad, Karachi, and Lahore hotel market have seen consistent growth over the last decade. The current supply of rooms in Islamabad, Karachi, and Lahore is primarily in the upscale or upper mid-market segments, which includes hotels such as Pearl Continental, Marriott, Serena, or Avari. By virtue of limited inventory and very high demand, Islamabad, Karachi, and Lahore hospitality market outperforms many of its competitive peer cities in the South Asian region with an average market wide occupancy of over 80 percent. With demand outpacing supply, the unbranded hotel market operates on comparable average rates as branded mid market hotels in the cities. In terms of occupancy, the organized hotel market was at its peak during 2014–16 as no new supply was added to the inventory since 2003 in Islamabad, Karachi, and Lahore. Serene Hotel in Islamabad was the last addition in these three cities of Pakistan.

 

Due to increasing awareness of customers around the globe, there is pressure on the hotels and restaurants to apply environmental sustainability practices that require fulfilling the availability of such instruments and tools, which measure the hotels impact on the environment.The quality of training, especially the proficiency in English and some other key languages, does not appear to receive much attention in the current training programs. Further, after qualifying with the tourism and hospitality related training,most of the skilled and semi-skilled workers in the hotel industry, such as front-desk employees, housekeepers, managers, cooks, waiters, gardeners, room-boys, hotel cardrivers etc., have significantly migrated to overseas especially to the Middle East. Other aspects include negative social attitudes on tourism employment, more specifically for women at work, lack of private sector investments and involvement to promote or marketing tourism and related services.To identify and understand the current key HR challenges which would help to improve the quality of service in the hospitality sector in Pakistan, a comprehensive study needs to be conducted.Thereafter making a workable plans could increase the tourism and hospitality career or job opportunities among the local communities by providing proper educational and technical training in order to enhance the living standards of local communities island-wide.The data from the employees’ perspective emphasized that the lower payment and low wage jobs, high labor turnover, seasonal and temporary jobs, lack of training facilities and approaches as the potential problems associated with the tourism and hospitality sector. Anyhow, this implies that the HR related to hospitality in Pakistan suffers from several in-depth issues.

It is required that HR management of hotels needs to develop continuing education opportunities for employees to encourage them to learn multi-skills and obtain a higher (degree) certification, as well as customer oriented advanced training programs. Financial and non-financial benefits should also be upgraded through modern HR practices to retain professional hospitality employees. In order to enhance the service practices, a training program should focus on how to react to customer problems quickly and handling guest complaints in a timely manner. Depending on different levels of complaints and different situations of guests, hotel management needs to train front-desk staff to offer proper arrays of compensations with similar values and let their guests select the best compensation.This will create a good impression of the hotel to the customer.

Security is one of the key indicators that need to be taken into account when travelling to another country. Pakistan has improved the security situation tremendously and this is also a contributing factor in bringing improvements in the hospitality sector. Sustainability is an increasingly relevant issue in Pakistan’s hospitality sector as it affects hotels in many ways. This includes improving brand image, improving cost efficiency, by implementing better working procedures and environmentally friendly technologies that end up increasing the hotel’s profitability. Almost all the guests of hotels in the major cities of Pakistan are the ones who are professionals and have easy access to internet and if they are not satisfied with the stay then they can post a negative comment about a hotel on a Whatsapp group, Facebook page or on Twitter. This will defiantly put a spot on the name of the hotel and consequently it can affect the business of that particular hotel therefore, it is important to focus on guess management as a priority.It is expected that besides, a number of one-to-four stars hotels would be developed in the next two years. According to government estimates, some 125,000 trucks and long-haul cargo vehicles as well as 25,000 passenger vehicles will run everyday on the roads between Gwadar and Kashgar, China under the CPEC. Therefore, many of the travelers will be in need of hotels and motels on both sides of the roads network between the two countries. In short, there is an opportunity besides having risks and challenges in the hospitality sector of Pakistan. There is a lot of potential in Pakistan hospitality industry and most of it is untapped. With the passage of time and induction of newer technology, supply chain will be optimized and risks associated with hospitality will be reduced.

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