Thursday, 18 July, 2024

Nepal gets much publicity as VNY 2020 nears


Ballav Dahal

With the Visit Nepal Year 2020 around the corner, Nepal has continued to be in the spotlight internationally, especially for its key tourist source markets.
As a preferred tourist destination, the country has received much publicity and promotion across the world through different channels.
“It is good that the country is being promoted worldwide once again as an important tourist destination because of her endless tourism potentials, including the magnificence of nature and cultural richness,” said Ngawa Ngima Sherpa, who is a member of VNY 2020 main organising committee in State 1.
Sherpa hoped that upcoming national tourism campaign could be instrumental in taking the country’s tourism industry to a newer height as efforts were underway to create more tourist attractions.
“The mega round-the-year tourism event should be utilised as an opportunity to build up necessary physical infrastructures and make massive reforms in tourism-related policies,” said Sherpa, who is also the managing director of Sora Adventure Treks & Expedition P. Ltd.
As part of making preparations for the tourism campaign, the VNY main organising committee of State 1 has already appointed mountaineer Kami Rita Sherpa, who has created history on mountaineering by scaling Mt. Everest for 24 times, as special envoy. Two more mountaineers, Mingma Sherpa and Mingma David Sherpa, who have scaled all the 14 peaks above 8,000 metres, have also been appointed as special envoys for the national tourism campaign.
With its diverse topographical and climatic regions, State 1 is one of the leading territories in the country when it comes to tourism resources.
The State is home to numerous mountains, including Mt. Everest and Mt. Kanchenjungha, mid-hills and the plain Terai.
The Khumbu Region is a tourism hotspot where hundreds of thousands nature lovers and adventure seekers visit every year because of the fabulous mountains. The Sherpa culture is another tourist attraction there.
“The people of State 1 feel proud of Mt. Everest (8,848m), the highest point on earth, as well as Kechan Kalan (60m), the lowest place in the country,” he said.
Mt. Everest is in Solukhumbu district while Kechana Kalan is located in Jhapa district. Besides, there are many other places that hold a lot of significance from tourism point of view.
The spectacular Arun Valley, which is the world’s deepest valley, is also located in State 1. The Valley is extended between Mt. Everest and Mt. Makalu. The valley is home to numerous endangered species of birds, butterflies and wildlife. More than 650 species of birds and 800 species of butterflies are found in the valley.
The Tinjure-Milke-Jaljale trail is known as the rhododendron trail that spreads across Taplejung, Tehrathum and Sankhuwasabha districts. This is also a major trekking trail where trekkers can not only enjoy the serene beauty of nature but also get an opportunity to be familiar with the culture and lifestyle of different ethnic communities. The tea estates in Ilam are also popular among both domestic and foreign tourists.
“In terms of tourism prospects, State 1 is very rich. But we have been unable to utilise the potentials fully because of lack of infrastructure,” he said. He suggested that the government should focus on expanding air and road connectivity to the Khumbu Region and other prospective tourist destinations.
Unlike in the past, foreign tourists do not want to stay longer in Nepal because of shortage of time. “If there is improved road and air connectivity with the Khumbu Region, we can take more tourists there,” he said.
In the absence of better roads and alternate airports, tourists are forced to be in Kathmandu.
Over the years, the tourists have gained bad experience due to rising air and dust pollution along with traffic jams.
He, however, observed that the Tribhuvan International Airport (TIA) has undergone some notable changes after Yogesh Bhattarai has assumed office as the Minister for Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation. “But still much remains to be done.”
“The government should introduce online visa system and focus on making luggage delivery faster at the airport,” he suggested.
He said that lack of coordination among different government agencies was an obstacle to the growth of the tourism industry in the country.
One of its examples was that the Ministry of Home Affairs decided to increase visa fees as soon as the Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation announced the VNY 2020.
“Our tourism cannot grow as expected unless and until there is no better coordination and cooperation among the various government bodies,” he said.
He called for necessary coordination among the different ministries and departments to boost such a multifaceted industry.
Talking about the existing impractical policy on the issuance of permits to foreign film shooting teams, he urged the government to simplify the process in order to attract more such teams.
“Many foreign film shooters associated with Bollywood and Hollywood are interested in shooting films in Nepal. But they have to go through an unnecessarily lengthy process,” he said.
As someone who is also the treasurer of Korea Tours & Trekking Operator Association of Nepal (KTTOAN), drew the government’s urgent attention towards launching scheduled flights to Nepal Airlines to South Korea.
“Korean Air does not have a competitor, it charges about US$ 1,200 for a round trip ticket between Incheon and Kathmandu.
The carrier charges only about 1,300 for a round trip ticket for the Kathmandu-Incheon-Toronto route,” he said.
Despite this, Nepal welcomes thousands of Korean tourists every year.