Print Edition - 2014-09-28 | MONEY
World Tourism Day marked with fanfare
Sep 27, 2014-
Nepal marked the 35th World Tourism Day (WTD) under the global theme of “Tourism and Community Development”, focusing on the ability of tourism to empower people and provide them with skills to achieve change in their local communities.
The all-day carnival exhibited different cultural performances in the Kathmandu valley, including tourist entry points and major tourist hubs across the country. The WTD is celebrated every year on September 27 to highlight tourism’s social, cultural, political and economic value.
“As tourism can empower local communities and can boost the industry, it is necessary to explore new products as we have diverse products within small areas,” said Suresh Man Shrestha, secretary of the Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation, addressing the WTD here on Saturday.
He added there were various success stories of rural community empowerment by tourism and this potential needs to be recognised. Shrestha also assured travel trade entrepreneurs the government on serious to resolve the ongoing issues at the Nepal Tourism Board (NTB).
Alleged financial irregularities at NTB have seriously hampered its performance and the government’s failure to sort out the issue has soured the relationship of the private sector with NTB.
“Each time we travel, use local transport at a destination or buy products from a local market we are contributing to a long value chain that creates jobs, provides livelihoods, empowers local communities, and ultimately brings in new opportunities for a better future,” said Taleb Rifai, secretary-general of the World Tourism Organization of the United Nations in its message.
“As we approach the 2015 deadline for the United Nations Millennium Development Goals and prepare to embrace the new sustainable development goals, this year’s WTD represents an opportunity to further advance tourism’s contribution to economic, social and environmental sustainability,” Rifai said. “Empowering individuals and communities around the world at all levels through tourism can be a fundamental step towards these goals.”
On Saturday morning, the Tourism Ministry, in association with Nepal Tourism Board and tourism associations and tourism stakeholders, organised a morning procession from Tridevi Marga, Thamel to Basantapur to mark the day. The government officials welcomed tourists at the Tribhuvan International Airport.
Nepal Association of Rafting Agents offered free rafting for each tourist from US, Britain, Germany, Russia, China, Malaysia, Thailand and Norway. Free entrance to first three tourists to Khokana was offered gifts by Khokana Sanitation and Tourism Development Committee. Likewise, Bhaktapur Municipality organized a welcome programme to first group of tourists with cultural procession and free entrance.
A 20 percent discount coupon was offered to all tourists in restaurants and guest house of Bhaktapur by the Bhaktapur Tourism Development Committee.
Thamel Tourism Development Council organized a Thamel street festival. Tourists were welcomed with cultural procession in Kakarvitta, Gaddhachauki and Kanchanpur by tourism stakeholders. Silver Entertainment Dharan and Hotel Association Bhadetar jointly organized Bhadetar Changa Chait Utsav to mark the day on Saturday.
Likewise, swing (Rote Ping), face painting, mountain bike rally, mini marathon and food festival were organized in Dharan and Bhadetar.
Nepal received 797, 616 tourists in 2013, down from 803,092 in 2012. According to the Tourism Ministry, foreign visitors spent an average 12.60 days in the country last year. The figure for 2012 is 12.16 days. On an average a tourist spent $ 42.8 per day in 2013. It was $ 35.6 per day in 2012. Nepal earned Rs 40 billion from tourism last year, up from Rs 30.11 billion in the previous year.
Published: 28-09-2014 10:22