Nepal tourism today demands action-the real job, not the dry rhetoric or lip-service, say tourism-sensitive people. Fed-up by years of talkathon and dream-spinning on tourism, they expect this time meaningful move to enable tourism sector prove itself as an important pillar of the economy.
The first step to be taken in this direction would be the best or optimum utilization of whatever facilities and infrastructure exist at present in the tourism sector in the country. It should be followed up by developing appropriate schemes to make tourism able to produce employment opportunities, products and foreign currency in the best interest of the people who visit and those who host them.
The schemes should of course be responsive to the theme of World Tourism Day 2023- More and Better Targeted Investments for People, for Planet and for Prosperity. Targeting the trio would develop Nepal tourism through nature-friendly, humanistic and creative processes. The spirit of the Green ideal should in no way or in no time be left out.
Marketing the country as a promising tourist destination should witness innovative approaches. It should address all tourists – pleasure-seekers, new place explorers, family-travelers, leisure-time-users, mountaineers, wild life lovers, pilgrims, educational enthusiasts, seminar-devotees, diplomacy-visitors, adventurers, honeymooners, vacationers, shoppers, etc.
The wide-ranging scale of travelers requires a fitting framework of hospitality services, online and offline communication platforms and transport networks –airlines, bus services, trekking and guide cum other tourism – work force. Similarly destinations to lure or engage tourists should be explored in nature, heritage, geographical spots, highland sports, mountains, rivers, hills, valleys, etc. and the same should be developed appropriately. Various tourism packages, products and services could be designed to meet the requirements of various types of tourists.
Those attached to Nepal Tourism Decade 2023-2032 understand the point mentioned above. They should now translate their understanding into practical result oriented works for enriching Nepal through the medium of tourism. In the process, they have to avoid the scenario of extreme underutilization that two international airports at Bhairahawa and Pokhara are exhibiting for over two years. Equally avoidable is the losing way that Nepal Airlines is pursuing today in the midst of growth opportunities that foreign airlines are enjoying in flights to and from Nepal.
The Decade appears to be well-conceived targeting 3.5 million tourists, making them spend 125 dollars per day, creating one million direct jobs and enabling tourism contribute 10 % to the GDP. Developing tourism in all seven provinces in a year by year planned manner is another highlight of the Decade. That proposition would uncover various now unseen tourism prospects in nooks and corners of the country. It would be instrumental in benefiting the grass-root people from tourism in the ultimate term. Investors, influencers and workers in tourism, transport, hospitality sectors and the civil society of Nepal should be effortful in making the Decade successful. Their work could fuel tourism to emerge as a sustainable industry in the country which would serve as a handy tool to drive away poverty, unemployment and backwardness and thereby enrich economy.