Wednesday, 19 May, 2021
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OPINION

Ways To Promote Tourism



Mukul Subedi

It is believed that Manjushree was the first tourist in Nepal. Leaving out mythical tales, tourism in Nepal started after the first successful ascent of Mt. Everest by Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgey Sherpa in 1953. Before 1950, Nepal was shut for outside visitors.
Tourism is ‘temporary moment of people in the particular destination outside their normal places of work and residence, the activities undertaken during their stay in those destinations,’ according to a common definition.
It is one of major sources of revenue in Nepal. It provides employment opportunities to hundreds of thousands of people, generating foreign currencies. Our country is also known as the land of temples, and foreigners come here to see them with awe and curiosity. Locals can sell their artworks and traditional artefacts to them. Our art and culture, beautiful mountains, hills and lakes, exotic wildlife and unique biodiversity are major attractions for tourists.
We should preserve religious and natural sites. We can do so with simple efforts: stop littering in public places, and volunteering clean-up campaigns. Public awareness of important those sites contribute to boosting tourism and developing our country. Strict laws should be implemented to punish those who damage cultural heritages and natural sites.
We can help flourish the tourism industry, offering quality accommodation and enhancing accessibility of visitors. They should be provided attractive packages, including a wide variety of cultural and adventurous activities. The government should revive the mega-tourism events like Visit Nepal Year (VNY) 2020 after the world comes out of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Nepal’s tourism industry received a huge blow from the pandemic, forcing the government to cancel the VNY. As a result, the number of tourists visiting Nepal dropped significantly from 11, 97,191 in 2019 to 230,085 in 2020. It led to the closure of tourist sites, massive lay-offs and economic loss.
Nepal holds lots of potential for becoming one of the best tourist destinations in the world. We can improve tourism sector in different ways, including the construction of international airports and other key infrastructure. Currently, there is only one international airport -- Tribhuvan International Airport (TIA) -- in Kathmandu. Three more airports are under construction. Nijgadh international airport which is estimated to be completed by 2025 is going to be the largest airport in South Asia with area of 8,000 hectares of land. Pokhara and Gautam Buddha international airports are expected to be upgraded within this year.
As it is the 21st century, people have switched more to internet than radio and newspapers as the means of communications. The government should develop apps dedicated to tourists. It can facilitate them to plan their trips, know about their potential destinations, prices of services and goods and upcoming occasions based on feedback from other users. We should motivate bloggers to write about their visit and vloggers to promote beautiful places in Nepal through their streaming sites.
Political decisions should be quick. Delay in taking important decisions negatively impacts the construction works. One such example is the delay in taking decision to cut down trees and level a hill near the eastern end of the Pokhara International Airport’s runway for several months. This is considered as the last hurdle in completing the works of the airport.