By Faraz Siddiqui
May 29 - June 04, 2000
Mr. Arif-Uddin-Ahmed is a Managing Director of Gulliver's Travels (
Pvt) Ltd, one of the leading travelling agency in Pakistan. He did his Graduation in
science (B.Sc) from D.J Science College. He did numerous courses in hotel management and
travelling from Karachi. He also worked for ALITALIA, one of the important Airline in
Europe, for marketing and sales in Middle East almost for a decade. He has also organized
a number of tours going to all the major destinations in the world on business and
vacations. He himself has widely travelled and has visited more than thirty five countries
and with their practical experience, he has been serving travelling and tourism business
in Pakistan. He also diversified his business by entering into the fast food with two
branches of Chicken Hut.
PAGE: what role your organization is playing in
travelling and tourism in Pakistan?
Arif Ahmed: We are the oldest organization here which
has been working for ten years. We are providing our services to promote travelling and
tourism in Pakistan. Gulliver's also has its operations in Los Angeles, London, Singapore
and Paris besides Pakistan.
PAGE:What prospects we have in Pakistan regarding
travelling and tourism business?
Arif Ahmed: The traveling business is in the doldrums,
the market is suffering great crises and business is almost stagnant. There are a number
of reasons which are responsible for such a severe situation. Taxes are exorbitant and
fares are high enough both for passengers as well as for travelling agents. The growth
process is very low which is the main threat to expand the market. Although we are
optimist but the prevailing situation does not seem to be better sometime in near future.
We are basically IATA approved organization but we are harshly suffered from the sprawl of
non IATA organizations which have not as such legal approval to operate business, so
Government should safeguard us against such harmful moves.
PAGE: What type of services you are providing? please
Arif Ahmed: We provide domestic and international
booking services to our customers, also provide worldwide reservations and car on rent
services to the customers. We work close with the Rakaposhi Tours (Pvt) Ltd which is one
of the largest tour operating Company here. Also we have the affiliation with Canadian
Tour and travels in order to facilitate the new immigrant to have safe and comfortable
landing with complete information about Canada.
PAGE: What is the situation of tourism development in
Arif Ahmed: Pakistan can develop into a major tourist
destination but unfortunately our priorities are different, but there is a lack of basic
infrastructure. Foreigners do not like to come Pakistan due to law and order situation and
other reasons like poor facilities, life and other insecurities, unavailability of
drinking water. There is a need of aggressive and active promotion and marketing campaign
to create image and awareness. Domestic tourism has not developed due to low awareness.
PAGE: What role the Government should play in this
Arif Ahmed:We really need support to strive for the
progressive move for the development of business operations in Pakistan. Civil Aviation
should intervene to protect the agent's benefits and commission. We are also affected due
to the very low fare structure of Dubai, some important measures should be taken to
control this situation in Pakistan for the benefit of travel agents in Pakistan.
Government should also play its role to promote tourism and travelling in Pakistan. We
should also provide facilities and concessions to the foreign travellers in order to make
them ambitious to have their tour in Pakistan. There should be a promotional budget and
tourist information centers abroad. I would say if only we implement the already existing
tourism policy that would be enough.
PAGE: What are your other moves in your business
Arif Ahmed: Besides travelling, I am also running a
chain of fast food restaurants with the name of "Chicken Hut". Although both are
very different sort of jobs but it is inevitable in the prevailing scenario.
PAGE:What are your's future plans?
Arif Ahmed: In future, I will expand my business and
will work for the promotion of travelling and tourism with Gulliver's. My restaurants
business will certainly be focused.
PAGE: Would you like to give any message to the
Arif Ahmed: Safeguarding the travelling and tourism
sector in Pakistan is not alone the responsibility of Government but the responsibility of
every individual. Consumers should always emphasize on supreme services. Professionalism
and fair practices should be encouraged both by government and public.