LACK OF INTERNATIONAL FOOD CHAINS IN BALOCHISTAN
June 15 - 21, 2009
Life is less to be enjoyed and more to be endured. Entertainment animates the life coloring it with charms and warmth. Balochistan is thought to be an entertainment-starved city. The residents of Quetta get least opportunities to enjoy their life as compared to other metropolitan cities of Pakistan. People seldom avail the opportunity of entertainment to enjoy along with their families on very important occasions. Otherwise, they feel bored confining to their residence. Though the province has attraction for the development of fast food business due to its natural tourism resources, geography and geo-strategic location, yet it absolutely lacks the presence of international food chains like McDonalds, KFC, Gourmet etc. The government should create a business-friendly environment, which could attract the global leaders in food chain for flourishing their businesses in all districts of the province.
Serena Hotel in Quetta only meets the international standards to entertain the customers. It is hosting foreign tourists, guests, including NGO's executives, foreign dignitaries, journalists, and intellectuals. The hotel not only provides accommodation, but it is also a place, which provides entertainment to the people in Quetta. Hence it regularly schedules Musical evenings, Puppet and Magic Shows, Children Mela, Iftar Dinners during Ramzans plus different food promotions and festivals. It endears the foreigners, tourists and members of international organizations to stay and enjoy the services meeting the international standards.
At present, Serena hotel is the center of social activities. Festivals, seminars and workshops are regularly organized in the hotel. The romance of starlit desert and the culture of city are kept alive in the 140 guest rooms and suits. The rooms designed with tradition and comfort in the mind, give the best of both worlds. The rooms have been divided into Presidential Suite, Executive Suite, Deluxe Rooms, Executive Club Rooms and normal rooms. All the Suits have been named after different mountains of the region like Zarghoon, Chiltan, Bolan and the Deluxe rooms have been named after the various stones carved at its entrance doors.
Inaugurated in 1989, the Quetta Serena hotel has gone through different phases of business cycle. After 9\11 terrorist attack on US, the hotel witnessed a lot of business activity generated by the foreign media men who had visited the region to cover the latest events taking place in the neighboring Afghanistan.
Quetta Serena is known for its round the clock superb cuisine and a la carte dining. It provides the option dining in different styles and tastes. The Ziarat Coffee Shop offers meals right from Buffet Breakfast to Buffet Lunch and an Ala-Carte Dinner, not forgetting its most popular event, the HI-TEA. Offering mouth-watering and spicy snacks, it is the place enjoyed by all age groups. For those who relish Chinese food, there is no better place other than the Xueilian Restaurant. The Garden Bar-B-Que, is set within a fruit orchard, with water channels flowing giving the feel of a typical village setting yet very modern. Other than spot cooked grilled items like Sajji, Chops, Tikka, Fried Fish, which fills the air with a tempting aroma, there is an orchestra playing music to make the evening a memorable one. This does not mean that general people and civilian are discriminated at Serena Hotel. All the citizens of Pakistan can visit the Serena hotel. Public servants are served at concessional rates.
Specially catering to a specific segment of the society, the hotel every year organizes the most economical outlet, the Gawalmandi - Food Street, which is a replica of the one in Lahore. Different food shops offer tasty and traditional food. Similarly, the hotel has been organizing the Ice Cream Parlor, offering flavors other than the one available in the city, plus one could eat as much as one wanted.
Serena hotel in the provincial capital undoubtedly provides international standard services to the tourists. There is a need to establish more such hotels in other districts of Balochistan. The province can be ideal for establishing global food chains. Its geography with four ecological zones plus a host of places of immense historical and archaeological and paleontological importance makes the province a bonanza of attention for foreign tourists and research scientists.
Balochistan, the country's least-developed province, is mired in poverty. It suffered from years of neglect. The remote rural areas of the province still present the picture of medieval Age. The health indicators are poorer than any other province. The development of natural and human resources is inseparably linked; hence, the social and economic development must go together. All the other three provinces owe their industrial development and economic progress to Sui gas field in Balochistan. It is the time to compensate Balochistan now that is still far and far behind other provinces for being, the least developed, most backward and the poorest province. If centuries-old Sardari system is generally blamed for the prevailing backwardness in the province, then it has been the successive governments that perpetuated this system through their certain initiatives, policies, and decisions.
It is a common observation that government officials show reluctance to be posted at Quetta from other cities of the country. Often, the officers are posted to Quetta as punishment. Balochistan, as a whole, needs years to come at par with other regions of Pakistan. It is the least developed province. Despite having enormous potentials in all sectors of development, it was ignored by the ruling elite in Islamabad.
By virtue of its natural treasure trove, captivating sceneries, significant sites of multifold importance, variety of flora and fauna, diversity of climates and unique geology, Balochistan possess huge potentials in tourism and food business. A fully operational Gwadar port can provide the province enormous opportunities to exploit its natural resources.
The provincial government should invite the international food chains like KFC and Macdonalds by announcing special incentives to the foreign investors interested in Balochistan. The government should build the essential infrastructure to attract the business leaders in world food chain. Improvement of law and order should be the priority area for the government, as no business activity can smoothly run in a risky environment. The people of Balochistan have also the right to enjoy international standards of global food chains.