Tourism in Nepal returning back to normalcy
KATHMANDU: Tourism- one of the mainstays of Nepal’s economy- is gradually returning back to normalcy after being battered by the COVID-19 pandemic for nearly two years.
This spring season witnessed considerable number of foreign tourists arriving Nepal with a total of 42,006 tourists coming from air route within March alone.
Last year during the same period, 14,977 foreign tourists visited Nepal. According to the statistics of the Department of Tourism, Nepal has received altogether 78,747 foreign tourists from January this year to till March-end.
The government has formed a Tourism Revival Steering Committee under the chairmanship of the Minister for Tourism, Culture and Civil Aviation which is tasked to undertake initiatives for the revival of the tourism industry such as exploration of new possibilities, identification and promotion of tourism industry and creating enabling investment climate in the tourism sector among others.
Towards this, the Nepal Tourism Board (NTB) has been organizing Travel Mart in all seven provinces. Fewa Festival is going to be held from April 13-14. A team of foreign chefs led by MasterChef UK contest winner Santosh Shah will reach various destinations for 10 days and participate in the tourism promotional events with a special focus on culinary tourism.
Mahesh Phuyal, general-manager of Ramada Encore, a 4-star hotel in Thamel, Kathmandu said that Ramada had 70 per cent occupancy lately. The 90-roomed hotels mostly have American, Indian and European tourists, shared Phuyal.
The inflow of foreign tourists has enthused tourism entrepreneurs in Pokhara, one of the popular tourist destinations in the country. Bharatra Parajuli, a local entrepreneur, said that the tourism entrepreneurs like him were upbeat due to the increasing number of tourism activities in Pokhara.
He said that development and promotion of adventurous tourism destinations in and around Pokhara, famed for lakes and natural landscapes, had help boost the country’s tourism.
Similarly, the Hotel Association of Nepal (HAN)’s Acting President Binayak Shah shared that the hotels in Pokhara were receiving so many inquiries lately. He opined that tourism was gradually reviving in Nepal after two years of pandemic-induced crisis.
Likewise, Trekking Agencies’ Association of Nepal (TAAN) former vice-president Nilhari Bastola suggested that in order to revive tourism in Nepal, the government of Nepal needs to spread the message that Nepal is ready and open for tourist and this could be, according to him, done through foreign ambassadors and consuls stationed in Nepal.
He further recommended the government devise attractive packages such as free visas for a month among others to bolster the influx of foreign tourists.
NTB’s CEO Dr. Dhananjay Regmi informed that the number of tourists from India and Bangladesh had increased significantly as the Board had conducted targeted promotional events in these countries.
Echoing with Shah, Regmi said that the tourism in Nepal which was plagued by COVID-19 was slowly snapping back into normalcy.
He called for the need to facilitate the Indian tourists arriving in Nepal by road ways through various border points.RSS