Public private partnership needed for development of tourism industry
KARACHI: “Public private partnership can ensure and cultivate our ever-growing tourism industry to grow expeditiously and help boost the economy by earning foreign exchange and revenues for the government.” These views were expressed by the General Manager of A.A Joyland Brig. (R) Akmal Saeed while talking to journalists in a meeting here in Karachi. He said that tax concessions and subsidy can help amusement industry achieve much more and also contribute in GDP. “Affordable tickets will result in more revenue generation, meaning more affordable entertainment for the public and contribution to the economy,” he said. He said that there has been a drastic increase in taxation on amusement activities as 13% sales tax is being levied by the Sindh Revenue Board while Excise and Taxation Dept under Sindh Finance Act, 2019, Clause 51-B, has also imposed an additional 25% entertainment duty. He was of the view that these new tax regulations are constraining revenue generation and it is feared that many of the amusement arenas and parks will shut down due to higher costs of taxation and will also inflate unemployment rate. “If the government is willing to work shoulder-to-shoulder with us by lowering taxes, then together we can stimulate the tourism industry and help Pakistan grow expeditiously economically,” said Brig. (R) Akmal, adding that this will not only provide entertainment at affordable prices due to tax concessions but also create job opportunities for the locals. He said that administering recreational resources can be hard and arduous for government bodies due to lack of budget, political instability and lack of expertise and many such government facilities either running in losses or not operational due to these reasons. He said that being a pioneer in the local amusement industry with over 2 decades of experience and expertise in manufacturing and providing recreational activities and rides, A.A Joyland can help the government not only to reinvigorate and operate such facilities to serve the masses but also make these profitable ventures. “A.A Joyland curates Aladin Amusement Park, Pavilion End Club, Super Space, Bounce Trampoline, Battle Station and chain of parks across Pakistan and we are willing to serve more citizens under public-private partnerships,” he added. He said that if non-functional parks and grounds are outsourced to local recreational companies, then these recreational facilities can be operated expeditiously without the government having to bear operational costs. Recently, the federal government has initiated a tourism committee to regulate and promote all tourism affairs, however, the role of amusement industry was utterly overlooked and ignored. “Amusement and tourism industry go hand-in-hand as many tourists find amusement parks and arenas an ideal tourism points,” said GM A.A Joyland citing example of Florida where many tourists visit just to drop by Disneyland. He said that the government can procure taxes from the boom of the amusement and tourism industry which can be then invested into infrastructural and economic development. Plus, the boom of the amusement industry can result in higher rate of employment for day-to-day operation and in construction sector if new parks are built.