Print Edition - 2016-04-26 | MONEY
Ghumphir Barsha launched: Go out and enjoy Nepal
Apr 26, 2016-
Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli on Monday officially declared Bikram Sambat 2073 as Ghumphir Barsha, or travel year, urging domestic and international travellers to explore Nepal without hesitation.
Speaking at the inauguration of the campaign, he also urged foreign investors to take full advantage of Nepal’s enormous potential and opportunities to invest.
“We were hit by a devastating earthquake last year. However, it has not completely damaged Nepal except a few areas,” he said.
There have been lots of rumours about lack of safety and the investment climate in Nepal, but that is not the case, he said. “Hence, I urge foreigners not to run after rumours. It’s safe to travel and invest in Nepal. Nepal offers a good investment climate and I urge investors to put their money here.”
Oli said the earthquake had partially damaged places of historic and archaeological importance, and urged visitors to fully take advantage of these important sites. More efforts are needed from the private sector to promote Nepal across the world, he added.
The government announced Ghumphir Barsha in a bid to revitalize the country’s flagging tourism industry. This programme to promote domestic tourism is the first of its kind. It is also part of the preparations to declare 2017-18 as International Tourism Year.
Tourist arrivals to Nepal fell to a six-year low of 538,970 in 2015 as the April 25 earthquake and subsequent Tarai unrest kept visitors away. Nepal received 251,148 less tourists last year, representing a sharp drop of 31.78 percent, compared to the 2014 figure.
According to the Nepal Tourism Board (NTB), Ghumphir Barsha will encourage the private sector to create special packages targeting Nepali travellers. The NTB will help the private sector to promote the tour packages.
Likewise, the tourism promotional body has suggested to the government to allocate a separate budget for travel leave concessions for government employees in the next fiscal year. The NTB has also planned to encourage the corporate sector to provide travel leave to their staff.
As per the plan, a booklet will be published describing the tour packages developed by travel and tour operators, the board said.
There are no statistics regarding domestic tourism in Nepal, but travel trade entrepreneurs say that the trend is on the rise owing to young travellers and adventure lovers who are exploring new ways of recreation.
They said that places like Pokhara, Chitwan, Muktinath and the Annapurna Circuit, among others, have been receiving a large number of domestic visitors due to a growing middle class.
According to the London-based World Travel and Tourism Council’s report entitled Travel and Tourism Economic Impact 2015, domestic travel spending generated 59 percent of the direct travel and tourism GDP in 2014 compared to 41 percent for foreign visitor spending or international tourism receipts.
Published: 26-04-2016 08:34