With the onset of 2020, Nepal is going to launch an ambitious tourism campaign ‘Visit Nepal Year 2020’ with the aim to welcome two million international tourists. As the theme of the visit Nepal year 2020 is fixed as ‘lifetime experience, visit Nepal year will be a challenging task for both- to meet the target in terms of number and to contain the tourists of lifetime experience. Since Nepal is the only country blessed with wide-spread cultural, traditional, and natural diversities to make unique from the rest of the world, the target to welcome 2 million tourists would not impossible only if the government and concerned stake holders come with the firm commitments.
While marking the visit Nepal year 2020, it would be relevant to revisit the history to learn lesion from the past. The first ever Visit Nepal Year marked in 1998 with the theme of ‘A World of its Own’ had become success to welcome about 500,000 foreign tourists. This figure of tourist arrival was quite impressive than the previous years. The second Visit Nepal Year marked in 2011 had become success to welcome about 800,000 tourists though then government had set target of receiving 1 million international tourists. Though the target was not met, the campaign had become success to give confidence to the Nepali tourism business sectors.
Though the efforts made by the government lack in multiple front, the Visit Nepal Year 2020 has created a sensation in the national as well as international arena. The Nepalese diplomatic missions abroad have made little bit effort to promote the Visit Nepal Year 2020. Likewise, the UK based travel magazine ‘Wanderlust’ has just listed Nepal in ‘The top 15 places you need to visit in 2019’appreciating the conservation efforts made by the country.
As the magazine has mentioned the national parks as the major reason to visit Nepal just days before the commencement of the Visit Nepal Year 2020, there is obvious of positive impact to encourage the foreign tourists to visit Nepal. Likewise, the government has made some decision to attract the foreign tourists. Recently, the Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation (MoCTA) took the decision to waive the royalty for mountaineers climbing 11 mountains.
The local governments have also been taking several decisions in coordination of concerned agencies to attract more foreign tourists. However, these all efforts would not sufficient to meet the target of welcoming two million tourists though paucity of foreign tourists emerged with the devastating earthquake has bounced back with renewed vigor and vitality in recent years. Last year alone, Nepal had hosted more than one million foreign tourists, which is 24 per cent higher compared to the previous year.
However, the fact is here that the target of welcoming 2 million international tourists in 2020 is easier said than done.
There would not be a daunting task and the target can easily be achieved only if the government and the concerned stake holders make a plan to make feel welcomed the tourists. The government and the concerned stake holders have to think on time to achieve the ambitious goal of welcoming 2 million tourists with the facilities of lifetime experiences.
The government has to come with a clear mindset that motive and intention of marking Visit Nepal Year 2020 should not be limited just for the year alone. The Visit Nepal Year 2020 should be able to create a base to increase tourist arrival at least 10 percent in the yearly basis and to make double within the coming decade. For this purpose, the government has to work to create the base now.
As Nepal still does not have good air connectivity with major tourist source markets in the international level and the touristic destination in the domestic level too, the government needs to concentrate to improve the aviation sector in Nepal. The Pokhara Regional International Airport and the Gautam Buddha Regional International Airport would start its commercial services before 2020 if the government takes extra initiation.
The first and foremost thing to pay attention is that the condition of roads within the Kathmandu valley is also in the state of disrepair. The roads of the Kathmandu valley and other touristic cities must be put in priority to encourage foreign tourists to go outside.
As the facilities that we provide largely matters to make ‘lifetime experience’ as of the theme, the government should come with the integrated plans and programs in coordination of the concerned stake holders so as to make feel welcomed the tourists.