ANKARA—Pakistan and Turkey have agreed to establish a Centre of Excellence in Tourism & Hospitality Management in Islamabad. The project was given final shape during a meeting between Mr. Shafqat Mahmood, Federal Minister for Education, Professional Training & National Heritage and Dr. Serdar Çam, Deputy Minister for Culture & Tourism of Turkey in Ankara today.
During their meeting, both Minister Shahfqat Mahmood and Minister Serdar Çam also explored further opportunities for collaboration in education, technical training, culture and tourism sector. Mr. Shafqat Mahmood briefed the Turkish dignitary about potential of tourism sector of Pakistan. He said that domestic tourism in Pakistan reached its peak during current year but stressed on the need for more efforts to attract more foreign tourists. Minister Shafqat Mahmood also conveyed his gratitude to the people and leadership of Turkey for standing by Pakistan on issues of its core national interest, particularly Kashmir issue. He also assured Pakistan’s support on issues that concerns Turkey. Both sides expressed the hope that the upcoming Pakistan visit of Turkish President Erdogan will provide further momentum to bilateral ties.
Earlier, Pakistan delegation led by Mr. Shafqat Mehmood visited Turkish Cooperation and Coordination Agency (TIKA) headquarters and were briefed by its Vice President Prof. Dr. Birol Çetin about the organization’s global as well as Pakistan operations. He informed that since 2010 when TIKA office was established in Pakistan, TIKA has undertaken about 148 projects in Pakistan in various sectors focussing on education, health, skills development, employment generation and women empowerment. Turkish side showed keen desire to do more projects in the area of technical education and vocational training.
Minister Shafqat Mahmood said that Pakistan is establishing National Skills University in Islamabad and the proposed Centre of Excellence in Hospitality & Tourism Management will part of it as its campus. He remarked that Pakistan Government is revising national education curriculum in order to make it relevant to market needs. This will include technical education and vocational training as a priority area, he added.
Mr. Ali Şahin, Chairman of Turkey-Pakistan Friendship Group of the Grand National Assembly of Turkey, hosted luncheon in honour of Minister Shafqat Mahmood and accompanying delegation. Pakistan delegation later visited Turkish Parliament and observed its proceedings. As a show of solidarity with Turkey, they visited the site in Parliament building bombed during the 15th July 2016 failed coup.
Visiting Turkey at the invitation of TIKA and led by Minister Shafqat Mahmood, Pakistan delegation included Ms. Wajiha Akram, Parliamentary Secretary for Ministry of Federal Education & Professional Training, Syed Javed Hassan, Chairman, National Vocational & Technical Training Commission (NAVTTC), Dr. Nasir Khan, Executive Director NAVTTC and Mr. Naeem Siddiqui, Director General, NAVTTC.