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Tourism policy should be tourism friendly

  • Nima Lama (Province-3, Assembly Member)

 

Nimal Lama (Province-3, Assembly Member)
Nima Lama (Province-3, Assembly Member): Photo- Lala Gurung

“Tourism is the main vehicle of prosperity” is the very basic concept which has not only been adopted and given a top priority by our province no-3 but by all seven provinces in the country.

If we talk about the existence of luring tourist destinations in the country, it is the province-3 which can claim that it is the hub of tourist destinations. I do not want to undermine the other provinces, yet we can be a model of how to attract tourists.

Our province is situated nearest to the capital city of Kathmandu. So, we are focusing on making our tourist destinations more fascinating and luring by making new tourist destination related policies as well as we firmly believe that tourism can only bring us prosperity in the long run.

The tourism industry is creating job opportunities for youths. Although China and India are our nearest neighbors, we have no rivalry in the field of tourism. We look forward to reaping the optimum benefits with a minimum investment in the tourism sector. That’s why we are putting more effort into this tourism sector at the local as well as the national level.

Tourist destinations such as Helambu and Langtang are already famous among the internal and external tourists. All the same, we are working more to make these destinations more fruitful and beneficial by developing more infrastructures, so that we can promote Nepal Visit Year 2020. We are also considering to prevent jobless youths from going abroad by creating job opportunities in the tourism sector.

New destinations

Opening up new destinations does not mean that we should reject the old ones. We don’t want to reject the popular destinations. Trekking and mountaineering have increased attractions not only for international tourists but also for the internal tourists too. So, we should develop a special package for internal as well as international tourists.

Homestays are coming up these days and reconstruction works are going on these days. We are also instructing the homestay runners to promote more tourist facilities like paragliding and bungee jumping.

The local festivals pervasive everywhere can also take the place of new tourism products as they can be promoted and publicized in the tourism market to lure tourists with minimum investments.

Local tourism

Helambu and Panchapokhari which are elevated at around 5000 meters above sea level are among the 100 tourist destinations declared by the government of Nepal. Tourist destinations like Goisankunda, and Langtang with an altitude of 4200 meters also can be a source of attraction for tourists. Panchpokhari has its importance. Helambu is an important place for Yolmos as Guru Rimpoche is said to have stayed here.

So, if these domestic products are mobilized with the help of youths, jobs can be created and youth don’t have to migrate abroad. These destinations are second to Everest and Annapurna areas. These tourist destinations can be used for either short or long treks depending upon the suitable of the tourists arriving in Nepal.

Environment & tourism

Tourism has been one of my main passions for a long time. I have been guiding the tourists in the past. But I never thought that such activities will benefit me politically now.

The concept of the Helambu great trail has also been developed for the promotion of domestic tourism. The road access can not only be blamed to destroy the trekking sites. Road access can bring easy access to goods and commodities for the locals. However, we can have a win-win situation by protecting our cultural heritage while developing our tourist trails.

Tourism policy

As a member of the provincial assembly, the policy-making process takes a long time. We have understood that if the policies are not good then it would be very challenging to implement them.

So our province is a good opportunity for us to work in new directions for the promotion of tourism. Our tourism policies should be tourism-friendly for tourism investors. We have done extensive discussions on the type of tourism policies needed for which have consulted with all concerned stakeholders like trekking agencies and entrepreneurs and collected their essential feedback.

We are on the eve of Nepal Visit Year 2020. But, the visa fee has increased. An increase in visa fee may discourage tourists. So, we should be careful about tourism friendly environment and facilities too that can encourage tourists to visit Nepal in 2020.

We have initiated Jugal Himal mountaineering also.  It is not good to make the tourists return by the same trail. We think tourists going to Lantang should enjoy the panoramic view of Langtang and should be made to return not from the same route but a different route. This will attract more tourists. Annapurna circuit became popular because of its circuit trail.

Our province is also focusing on promoting Khanjala pass (5200m) between Langtang and Sindhupalchwok by making a circuit trail for Langtang trek so that we can bring tourists to Helambu and Sindhupalchowk.

Our province has already allocated Rs 15 million for the development of Khanjala pass. Investment is the first and foremost thing. So, I am putting pressure upon our assembly to give priority in investing more budget in tourism.

This article is based on conversation with Nimal Lama (Province-3, Assembly Member)

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