Thursday, 25 February, 2021
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Karnali draws tourism master plan for 10 years



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By Muna Hamal
Surkhet, Feb. 22: Karnali Provincial Government has formulated a 10-year master plan for tourism development. This was done to develop and regulate tourism in the area.
Karnali possesses infinite possibilities in the field of tourism, however, due to lack of vision and investment, nothing has been done there.
The provincial government assured that the master plan would exhibit Karnali as an international doorway. They also believe that the plan would make the place a must-visit destination. The master plan devised by the Ministry of Industry, Tourism, Forest and Environment has also created space for a five-year action-plan.
A concept of implementing the master plan in two phases -- short and medium term (2021-2024) and long term (2025-2026) has been put forward. In the short and medium term, consolidation, planning, awareness generating, development, market expansion and diversification are taking place. In the long term, there is a plan to conduct operations, expand improvement, maintain and manage the market.
The master plan envisages a growth of tourist arrivals by an average of 12.6 per cent annually. It is estimated that 1.5 million domestic tourists will visit Karnali by 2029. The target is to attract 200,000 people each from India and other countries.
According to the master plan, 50,000 people will be provided employment opportunities by 2029. The plan is supposed to constitute 10 per cent of the total income of the region by the date. Within this time, 1750 hotels and resorts will be opened. The province will also have one international, two provisional and eight local airports.
The tourism area has been divided into five strategic ones. Dolpa will have a Dolpa Tourism Area; Jajarkot, Rukum West and Salyan will have another one; Karnali Tourism Area, Kalikot, Jumla, Mugu and Kolti will be included under Rara-Jumla-Sinja-Kalikot Tourism Area; Humla will have a Humla-Limi-Hilsa Tourism area and finally Surkhet and Dailekh will come under Bheri Tourism Area.
These areas will be linked by waterways, roadways, footpaths and roads. The great Himalayan Trail so formed will also provide tourists with rafting opportunities as well as spiritual and religious destinations.
For the development of the tourism area, various strategic programmes shall be carried out. The master plan is to be supervised by ministries. The provincial government informed that more than Rs. 12.3 billion has been allocated for the first five years of the master plan. It is mentioned that institutional structure will be made by making tourism plan from province to district, town and village. It is mentioned that policy and regulatory structure related to tourism will be formulated.
Minister for Industry, Tourism, Forests and Environment of Karnali Province Nanda Singh Budha said that they would move ahead for the implementation of the master plan.
He said, "There is a lot of potential for tourism in Karnali. We have prepared a blueprint for its development and promotion. We are implementing it with the participation of all three levels of government and the private sector.”
He said that everyone would play an important role in the implementation of the master plan. He said that the development of Karnali's tourism sector would help in the economic development of not only Karnali but the entire nation. 

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