- Krishna Adhikari
Nepal’s tourism industry, which has been largely crippled by the global Corona Pandemic, needs to be revived. The fight is not likely to end immediately, but the main issue now is how to avoid it and how to continue the business. Economic development efforts can not be meaningful unless the tourism industry, one of the main pillars of Nepal’s economy, is revived. Tourism in Nepal is one of the most important sectors with a multifaceted contribution. According to the WTTC (2019), the Travel and Tourism sector supported Nepal’s economy with 6.7% GDP contribution, about 1.1 million direct employment opportunities, and 30.8% of total export earnings via visitors’ spending.
For this, the state has to create a conducive environment and at the same time, the concerned business owners need to show the same initiative. It can not be said that foreign tourists will visit Nepal right now. The Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation, in partnership with the government and the private sector, has launched a tourism revival campaign on the occasion of World Tourism Day to mobilize the tourism sector of the country, which has been weakened by the Kovid-19 epidemic.
The success of the Deshdarshan campaign launched with the coordination and cooperation of the stakeholders in the tourism sector for the implementation of the ‘Deshdarshan Program’ announced by the government in the budget seems to determine the tourism activities of the coming days. The tourism revival task force formed by the ministry has made public the tourism activities to make domestic tourism operational. Launched under the slogan ‘Our Message for Tourism, Traveling Country, Recognized Environment’, the campaign is expected to provide positive energy to boost economic activity by mobilizing tourism affected by the Kovid-19 epidemic.
Even if the spread of the corona infection worldwide is brought under control or the vaccine becomes available to the general public, it is only a matter of time before foreign tourists begin to return. Foreign tourists are unlikely to arrive in Nepal soon, which is located between China, India, which is believed to be the origin of the corona, and India, which has a high incidence of the disease. At this time, it is the domestic tourists who are making the tourism sector dynamic. Structures have been constructed targeting foreign tourists from various infrastructures to large hotels. It is necessary to keep domestic tourism afloat, even if only partially, so as not to waste his investment. For this, the state can provide relief facilities to the concerned businessmen as well as leave packages to create an environment for internal tourism.
Offer public holidays two days in a week
The Tourism Ministry is preparing a proposal to give leave two days a week to promote domestic tourism and submit it to the Council of Ministers. A meeting of a high-level group chaired by Tourism Minister Yogesh Bhattarai at the Tourism Ministry has welcomed the decision to form a study and task force on the issue of giving leave two days a week and submit it to the Council of Ministers after the task force prepares a proposal.
The Nepal Tourism Board is currently planning to promote domestic tourism with the help of the private sector. It proposes two days of public holidays a year. The Ministry of Tourism is engaged in this saying that one day leave will not be enough time for travel and international practice will also give public leave two days a week. Nepali festivals are also coming and it is also the winter season, so Nepalis go from one place to another, rejoicing.
Tour package announcement
Airlines and tourism-related organizations and hotels, which were previously limited to air transport, have now announced various tour packages to boost the domestic tourism market. The tour package from Everest Base Camp to Rara in Karnali has inspired Nepalis to go for a walk instead of being scared of the corona. Thus, not only airlines but also hotels, resorts, and business associations affiliated to the tourism sector are studying various programs to make the Nepali economy run. It is believed that such packages will provide great relief as foreigners will come only after operating the domestic tourism market when foreign tourist arrivals are halted.
In the process of announcing the tour package started by Buddha Air, Summit Air has also announced the tour package. To make the tourism sector of Kathmandu, Pokhara, and Chitwan known as the Golden Triangle in the tourism sector, Buddha’s sister organization Buddha Holidays has brought a per capita tour package of Rs. Buddha Air has announced a two-day stay and free round-trip package for Pokhara at Rs 6,000 as soon as it becomes New Normal.
Similarly, Yeti Airlines has brought tour packages ranging from Rs 7,000 to Rs 25,000 to 16 destinations across the country on the occasion of its 22nd anniversary. These include a five-day Everest Trek, a three-day Rara Lake Trek, a three-day Chitwan jungle safari, and a six-day Ghandruk Trek. These packages cover all the expenses incurred for travel from Kathmandu or other destinations, such as airfare, hiking, guide, hotel accommodation, food, and transportation. Summit Air, which has been flying to 10 remote Himalayan regions including Kathmandu, has announced a 13-day tour package from Muktinath to Sagarmatha base camp. It has announced a package of Rs 13,000 to Rs 20,000 for family and friends to reach Gokyo Lake in the Khumbu region and climb Gokyo-RI Peak.
While big star hotels are closing, Chandragiri Hills Resort has also brought a festive package. He is selling a pair of one-night stays of Rs 12,000, transportation by cable car, dinner, and breakfast in a package of Rs 6,500. Similarly, Park Village Resort in Budhanilkantha has also brought the ‘Friday Bar-B-Q’ package for the city dwellers. Taking care of health security, he brought this package for a couple on Friday at Rs 10,000. Hotel Association Nepal (HAN) in collaboration with the Nepal Tourism Board is about to bring a program of country philosophy. Entrepreneurs including hotel, bus, airline, travel, and tour are preparing to bring the package institutionally, said HAN.
The Nepal Tourism Board has stated that the long-discussed night heritage tour is now being started in all the three districts of the Kathmandu Valley. The board has said that it has completed all the preparations to conduct a night heritage tour in all the three cities of the capital till at least noon in the normal situation (new-normal) after the abnormal situation brought by Coronavirus. The board is also compiling a list of the top 10 destinations in the capital.
Such promotional programs announced by the domestic airlines and the government to bring the collapse of the 1.5 billion Nepali tourism market back to normal will help to mobilize not only the entrepreneurs but also the overall economy of the country. Such programs will provide an opportunity for the people living inside the house to get out after six months of lockdown.
The state and local governments will also be able to bring various promotional programs. While carrying out such packages, everyone must follow health precautions according to the government and the WHO standards to prevent the spread of corona infection. In the current comfortable situation, both the private sector and the government have no choice but to mobilize the domestic tourism market. The prosperity of the country at this time is not only to establish new economic agendas but also to strengthen the foundations of our economic development.
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