- Zhiming Gan (James), Chinese Tourism Entrepreneur
Nepal is a well-known country for its spectacular hills, valleys, rivers, mountains, and rich cultures which the tourists like the most. A developing country like Nepal had very good plans and strategies for tourism development in 2020. But unfortunately Covid-19 pandemic hit the tourism industry very badly.
Tourism and Economy
Before, Covid-19, travel, and tourism had become one of the most important industries in the world economy, accounting for 10 percent of global GDP and more than 320 million jobs worldwide.
The number of tourists to Nepal in 2019 totaled 1.19 million via air and land routes, a slight increase over the 2018 number of 1.17 million. Like every year, the Himalayan nation received the highest number of tourists from India as many as 2,09.611 followed by China which was at 1,69,543.
The attraction of Nepal Tourism
Nepal is famous for its landscape; mountains, lakes, jungles, and wildlife. Besides, it is also reputed for religions such as Buddhism and Hinduism. Nepal is endowed with a multicultural heritage that looks unique and infusion too. Sports-related adventure, expeditions, trekking, rafting, paragliding, bungee jump are some of the worthwhile sports to enjoy in Nepal by tourists. In addition, Nepalis are friendly, frank, kind, honest, and helpful.
Travel Policy in China
The Chinese government is doing very well at this time with the Covid-19 pandemic. A lot of PCR tests are carried out there and a strict quarantine policy is followed to ensure the prevention of the spread of Covid-19. 14 days isolation is minimum for those international travelers. That is one of the reasons why we could not get more Chinese tourists in Nepal.
What is needed to improve?
Nepal needs the following tourism essentials:
· International access condition which seems to be poor enough.
· The overland transportation system should be improved in course of time.
· Not all guides are well trained in the profession.
· Many tourism-related accidents are taking place which should be avoided.
· Foreign tourists’ insurance system should be put in place in Nepal.
· The government should interfere and discourage the low-budgeted tour packages that harm the tourism industry.
Investment in Nepal Tourism
The tourism market in Nepal has a brighter future as Pokhara and Lumbini international airports are likely to be completed. Premium hotels are needed in several tourist destinations such as Lumbini and Pokhara. Adventure sports such as ski, host spring, fun park, safari zoo, glamping site can be feasible not only for foreign tourists but also inland tourists. The investment environment should be good for investors and the government should give strong support to such foreign investors.
Post Covid-19 Context
The covid-19 pandemic has changed the Nepali lifestyle which in turn has changed the tourism industry entirely and will be changed in the future too. The way of travel is also changing, for example in China the foreign travel operators are now engaged in domestic travel tour packages by operating small group travel packages inside China.
Chinese tourists in Nepal are looking for safe travel and meaningful trip which they can enjoy. It is suggestive to give the quality trip to the tourists rather than engaging in unfair competition among the travel agents.
–This article is based on Zhiming Gan’s talk at a virtual event.
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