It is of no surprise that Nepal is often considered one of the best places for travel. It has an amazing Himalayan beauty, exotic multicultural aspects and natural beauty to match. Visitors from all parts of the world come to Nepal by the thousands every year, especially for trekking. As such, the tourism sector of Nepal has a lot of potential for growth and expansion.
Acting on this agenda, the Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation (MoCTCA) has planned to organize ‘Visit Nepal Year’ in 2020 to attract more tourists to the country. The government has set a target to bring in two million tourists each year by the targeted year. According to Tourism Minister Jitendra Narayan Dev, a secretariat for the Visit Nepal Year will be established shortly to make necessary preparations.
Although the MoCTCA had planned to celebrate Visit Nepal Year in 2018, it was put off due to the delay in construction of airports, heritage sites and roads. The 60-day action plan of the Nepal Visit Year unveils that due priority will be given to the early completion of the construction and expansion of the international and domestic airports, heritage sites and other tourism infrastructure in the country. The government has planned to complete the expansion of Tribhuwan International Airport and construction of Gautama Buddha Airport in Bhairahawa before 2020, along with the reconstruction of major heritage sites. The ministry will initiate the process to bring strategic partner for Nepal Airlines Corporation (NAC) — the national flag carrier. It also plans to take forward NAC’s proposal to purchase two more narrow-body aircraft.
Furthermore, the 60-day plan will also frame country-wise tourism promotion strategy and its implementation- an effort that will help the tourism promotion organizations to carry out promotional activities to tap potential outbound travelers of concerned countries. Currently, India, China, United States of America, United Kingdom and Sri Lanka are the major countries of tourists’ sources.
Likewise, the country wise tourism promotion strategy is set to tap the outbound travelers of the neighboring nations to Nepal in the context of rising number of outbound travelers in India and China. Identifying the reasons behind low growth in tourist arrivals, Nepal will then take necessary measures to attract more tourists in the country, according to Minister Dev. He also further said that the air service agreements with the United Arab Emirates, Turkey and New Zealand will soon be finalized. The action plan also states that MoCTCA will review the air service agreements with Thailand, Japan, Egypt and China among others.
The action plan also includes plans to amend the Tourism Act, with the vision of making it more contextual. It also aims to amend the Casino Regulation, the Travel and Trekking Regulation and the Mountaineering Expedition Regulation.
Similarly, Tourism Minister Dev has envisioned upgrading Nepal Academy of Tourism and Hotel Management to a Tourism University with the aim of to narrowing the gap between human resources in the tourism. To establish the Tourism University, the MoCTCA will carry out necessary groundwork like framing the draft law and land acquisition for the university among others. In like manner, a survey will also be carried out by MoCTCA to expand the line agencies of the ministry and the departments to the provincial and local levels. It will also frame a master plan for the preservation of tourist sites. The Tourism Act is set to bring an approximation of about 2 million tourists to Nepal.