Thursday, 18 July, 2024

Time to brand Visit Nepal 2020 effectively


Dr. Atindra Dahal

The much-awaited national tourism campaign-- Visit Nepal 2020-- is going to mark an official commencement next week. The government has aimed at welcoming two million international tourists during the eventful year. The substantial growth in tourist arrivals is expected to help boost the national economy.
As per the Department of Immigration, a little more than one million foreign tourists visited Nepal by air in 2018. The number was about 24.77 per cent growth as compared to the previous year’s graph. India, China, the United States of America, Sri Lanka, the United Kingdom, Germany and France stood serially lead host countries for arrivals.
Additionally, Thailand, South Korea and Japan were other major tourist source markets for Nepal.
World Travel &Tourism Council (WTTC) notes that, annually, about 600 million people tour internationally. The number Nepal has anticipated is mere 0.33 per cent of it.
The country’s geo-politics, geo-economics, available capitals and resources show that tourism is an important sector to contribute to the national economy.
With dedicated efforts of all stakeholders, Nepal can develop a very strong foundation for sustainable tourism development. It is needless to say that the country has boundless prospects for tourism development.

Nepal has matchless natural and cultural tourist attractions. The country is home to the tallest mountain and the deepest gorge in the world along with numerous other incredible tourism resources. Many world heritage sites are with us besides being disproportionately enriched with unrivalled bio-diversity and whether adjustability. Global travel guides ‘Lonely Planet’ and ‘Business Insider’ have rated Nepal as one of key nations and among top 30 tourist destinations worldwide. Books like the ‘House of Snow’ (anthology), ‘Kathmandu’ by Thomas Bell, ‘While the Gods were Sleeping’ by Elizabeth Enslin and ‘The Living Goddess’ by Isabella Tree too further intone the gravity and intent of message.
Nepal is renowned for her unique hospitality. Even semi-skilled people can proficiently yield in tourism. It is investment-friendly too as mid-volume capital shall suffice to operate many of its segments. It hails many direct and indirect economic-cum-employment benefits along with vivifying the nation’s identity as well.

It is the responsibility of the federal, state and local governments to explore, identify, list and aggressively promote tourist destinations of respective premises. Tourists prioritising entrainment, mountaineering, studies and researches, sightseeing and other activities should be well-regrouped.
They have varyingly preferable prerequisites. Maintaining and upgrading essentials like transportation and accommodation facilities.
An estimated 50,000 people afforded international tours during the Dashain festival this year. Now, many Nepalis do have both cause and capacity to travel abroad. Hence, the government should encourage internal tourism as well. Though domestic tourism seldom contributes to earning foreign currency, it helps hold the money within the country and substantially reduces the
capital flight.
An aggressive destination promotion and marketing in main tourist generating cities and nations across the globe will be a milestone to percolate the message ‘Let’s Visit Nepal’. Besides building beatific decorum and decency in greeting visitors and hoisting the hospitability, easy and hassle-free visa facilitation is equally important.
Constituting visitors’ alumni and its chapters in every possible nation may also be helpful for the country’s promotion. Having exchanged the photos and activities snapped in the past might further buttress the bond and then hone the affinity. About 7.6 million people are reported to have visited Nepal in last 10 years. Networking them can be a landmark step.
The government can solicit special assistance from Non-Resident Nepalis (NRNs). Including foreign employment and immigration, about 6 million Nepalis reside overseas.
They can vigorously message to mates and colleagues in their spot and station. Entrepreneurs therein can do the same to all the customers approaching them. If a Nepali living abroad sends a single visitor, we bag the success thrice. New dimensions of tourism, i.e., ski-diving, sharp-shooting, sky-fly and others should be explored further.
According to the World Tourism Organisation (WTO), about 50 per cent of tourists visit for a religious purpose and about one-fourth tourist destinations of the world hold theological significance. We also ought to focus on promoting religious tourism. Many rich Asian nations are Buddhist by religion while India has one billion Hindus. Magnificently meaningful religious destinations of both religions (Buddhism and Hinduism) are in Nepal.
The government has to undertake civic orientation regarding receiving, respecting and facilitating visitors as the social response and courtesy to visitors too matter much. Commercial sectors and business professionals related to tourism must not take tourists as easy cash cow through artificial and unreasonable price hike in goods and services.
Going for quality tourists is another trick of the trade. With the Asian economy booming, the people of this region can spend more than that of westerners. Only meeting target by calling and counting visitors who spend day with a bottle of water and loaf of bread may be an illusionary accomplishment. So, we need to consciously convince tourists who desire and deserve to stay longer and spend much.

Concerted efforts
Rightly utilising the notion of ‘voluntourism’ and ‘voluntrekking’ may magnify our mission.
At present, many universities around the globe force their pupils, especially outgoing or those at the final semester, to tour abroad and get them engaged in community volunteering as field study or project work or research.
We should develop contacts with such universities. Various companies in countries like Japan, China, Thailand, Bhutan and others finance their employees for obligatory tours of certain period, i.e. week or fortnight on noble cause of refreshing them.
It is necessary to officially request such companies to select Nepal as their destination can help boost the country’s tourism industry. Nepali ambassadors stationed at various nations may contribute in this course. Endeavouring for some high-profile visit may further galvanise the national tourism campaign.
Bidding for all international conferences and seminars stipulated for 2020 could facilitate to receive many tourists. The government and other stakeholders should make concerted efforts to welcome more tourists.

(Dr. Dahal is a freelance writer)