- Kashiram Sharma
About one and a half months remains for the advent of the Visit Nepal Year 2020, during which the government plans to welcome two million tourists in the country.
As the VNY 2020 draws closer, Banke district is facing a shortage of funds for the Visit Year promotion campaign. No discussion has taken place so far anywhere in the district to make the VNY 2020 successful.
Visit Year related activities have not yet started in this western Tarai district of State-5, except the local level governments placing the logo of the VNY2020 at formal programs and in official letters.
The local level bodies in the district have not been able to pay attention to publicizing the touristic places and attracting visitors. Although the extensive plan is required for making the Visit Nepal Year successful and fruitful, no preparations have been made yet in the district that connects, VNY2020 state committee member Bhaskar Kafle admitted.
Kafle said the VNY 2020 is merely confined to the slogan in Banke district. According to him, the government has included four touristic sites here in the list of 100 major tourism destinations in the country. He further added that problems have been faced in publicizing the touristic sites due to the shortage of budget for the promotion and development of the physical infrastructures at these sites.
Krishna Lal Chaudhari, president of the Gabhar Valley Community Homestay, said that although the government has included four tourism sites in the list of 100 major tourist destinations of the country, it has not allocated budget for the promotion and development of these places.
“We only know that the government has allocated budget for only 50 destinations and not a single destination from Banke is included in this,” he said. Among the 100 major tourism destinations in Banke district are the Bageshwari Temple in Nepalgunj, the Gabhar Valley at Baijanath Rural Municipality-1 and the Banke National Park, the Kammar Shah Majar at Duduwa Rural Municipality-5. Chaudhari opined that although it was a welcome step to include the touristic sites which are the center of attraction to domestic and foreign tourists in the list of 100 major touristic sites in the country, the failure to allocate budget for the publicity and development of these sites was discouraging.
Secretary of Bageshwari Temple Management Committee, Gopal Prasad Adhikari said it would not be possible to attract numerous visitors to touristic sites without the publicity, promotion, and development of infrastructures.
He believes that numerous religious tourists could be attracted to Bageshwari only through its promotion. He said tourism activities have not picked up pace in the district due to the shortage of budget.
“If the government wishes to realize its dream of bringing in two million tourists during the Visit Nepal Year, attractive touristic destinations should be identified and promoted,” said Federation of Nepalese Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FNCCI) central member Krishna Prasad Shrestha.
Bageswhori Temple, Gabhar Valley and the Banke National Park based in the district are some attractive touristic destinations here, according to him. A 21-member district committee was formed earlier under the coordination of District Coordination Committee Coordinator Ajay Shreewastav to make an action plan because of the Visit Nepal Year. But the committee has not yet met once to discuss the agenda. It is said there is doubt whether the target is met because of insufficient preparations on the part of the government. Duduwa rural municipality chair Narendra Chaudhari complained of no encouraging atmosphere to celebrate the Visit Nepal Year.
No budget has been allocated for the promotion of Majar, one of the four touristic sites in the district identified by the government. Hotelier Bhim Kandel also complained of non-cooperation in the attempt to promote the Visit Nepal Year. (RSS)
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