State 1 to welcome half a million tourists in 2020
08 Nov, 2019
By Mahendra Bista
Biratnagar, Nov. 8: Government of State No. 1 has started preparation to bring 500,000 tourists in the state during the Visit Nepal Year (VNY) 2020. The State government has started works for making the VNY 2020 a success by forming a 51-member state level committee in coordination of Minister for Industry, Tourism, Forest and Environment of State 1 Jagadish Prasad Kusiyat, said Sannjib Kumar Rai, secretary at the ministry. Earlier, the Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation of the federal government had a formed 21-member management committee to make the VNY a success. The State government has started preparatory works by extending the committee formed by the federal government as per the local need, Rai said. A total of 12 different sub-committees under the main committee have also been formed. Action plan for making the VNY 2020 success has been sought from the sub-committees. The ministry will decide on budget allocation after getting action plans of all the sub-committees and the works will begin after the allocation of the budget, secretary Rai said. The main committee formed to make VNY 200 success is planning to organise VNY 2020 inauguration programme on January 1 at one of the tourism destinations and it will be inaugurated by Chief Minister of State 1 Sherdhan Rai. Targeting the VNY, the government of State 1 had already organised ‘Tourism Mart 2019’ successfully. The state government has also published a book incorporating tourism destinations of the State. Besides, the ministry is designing programmes to increase the access of tourists in the tourist sites and making those sites tourism friendly, said Dambar Prasad Ghimire, an official at the Tourism Division of the ministry. With nearing VNY 2020, the state government has focused on producing more tourism-friendly human resources and tourism infrastructure, said Ghimire. Although the State 1 has the diversities to represent the country as the whole, it has not been able to attract significant number of tourists in lack of essential information, infrastructure and tourism friendly culture and behaviours, said Subodh Raj Pyakurel, vice president of Planning Commission of State 1. “In this State, there are large hotels, but the staff members of hotels are not tourism friendly. Tourists do not get room easily, if they get it they will not get good behavior and they also cannot get local cuisine as per their search,” Pyakurel said. Pyakurel said that the state government was working in cooperation with local bodies and local communities to attract more tourists in the state. The State government has initiated the works to build tourism infrastructure in Koshi Tappu, construct the Himalaya trail from Sagarmatha Base Camp to Kanchanjunga Area and develop Mandhum Trail joining Salpa Pokhari and Silichung Chuli as the religious tourism destination of Kirat religion. Tourism entrepreneurs Bhavish Kumar Shrestha said that there was potential of religious tourism and ecotourism in State 1. Besides, recent development in education, health and agriculture is also attracting foreign tourists in the State, he added. According to the ministry, a total of 58,000 foreign tourists visited State 1 in fiscal year 2018/19 out of which 93 per cent visited Khumbu region, 6 per cent Makalu Barun National Park and the Kanchenjunga Conservation Area.