KARACHI: The Country Manager of Thai Airways International, Kanaporn Apinonkul, said there is a big potential for aviation business in Pakistan, mainly after CPEC.
Speaking to a group of journalists at the concluding ceremony of two weeks Thailand food festival held at a local hotel, he said that at present, Thai Airways operated daily flight for Bangkok from Karachi and Lahore, and four in a week from Islamabad. Of seven flights from Karachi, three were routed through Masqat. Soon, direct flights between Karachi and Bangkok would be started.
He said passengers traffic from Pakistan to Thailand was increasing. Last year, 100,000 visas were issued by Thailand embassy in Islamabad for tourists and businessmen. He informed that Thai Airways had 100 aircraft fleet operating on different routes in the world with focus on Middle East and Europe. He said more such festivals should be organized to promote and social activities.
M Azeem Qureshi, General Manager BLH, said that with increasing rush of visitors from different countries for business and tourism purposes, the existing hotel capacity fell short. It has become inevitable for the hotel chains operating in Pakistan to go for immediate expansion. “After China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, hotel industry here has witnessed 40 percent increase in occupancy. One would hardly find a vacant room in four-star and five-star hotels in Pakistan,” he said.
He said Avari International Hotels Group has taken lead by starting construction of nine more hotels with new name “Avari Express Hotels”. Among these, two would be set up in Lahore, two in Multan (one is ready), one each at Faizabad (junction of Rawalpindi and Islamabad),
Faisalabad, Gujranwala, Koh-e-Mari and Sialkot. Avari Group was mainly focusing on Punjab, he said adding that the group was pursuing “Second City Concept. Gwadar was also on cards, he said. He said the expansion in hotel industry reflected boom in economic activities in the country.
M Azeem Qureshi said Avari Hotels had been holding series of entertainment events including food festivals, cultural shows including basant and musical shows, and literary melas as one of the major players towards bringing hassle and bustle back in the city.
He expressed his satisfaction over the big public response received by Thai food festival. Good number of food lovers continued pouring in since its first day. Honorary Trade Adviser to Thailand government, Arif Suleman said Thai food was very popular in Pakistan. That, along with economic activities, tourism was increasing in Pakistan. —PPI