Visit Nepal 2020 Kicks Off
2 Jan 2020 HYN Himalayan Yoga Academy
The government on Wednesday launched Visit Nepal 2020, an ambitious campaign that hopes to draw 2 million foreign tourists over the year. Nepal, a country highly dependant on the import of foreign goods and services, values tourism as a source of foreign currency and the means to sustaining a booming hospitality industry. Beyond the major attractions of mountaineering, trekking and sightseeing, tourism is also benefiting communities, with homestays, mostly in indigenous settlements, becoming much more popular in recent years.
From the hippie paradise to Shangri-La and Naturally Nepal: Once is not enough, Nepal has attempted to change its brand identity to Lifetime Experiences in a bid to position the country as one of the world’s most unique value destinations.
Considering that past tourism campaigns have by and large been successful in giving a boost to the industry
in difficult times, even if they didn’t exactly achieve the set goals, this new initiative has also given hope to tourism entrepreneurs. But there are challenges are aplenty in making the most out of the national push.
Here’s everything you need to know about Nepal’s major tourism campaigns and the prospects of Visit Nepal 2020.
About the Inaguration Ceremony : Visit Nepal 2020
Lighting the flame of unity, President Bidya Devi Bhandari officially launched Visit Nepal 2020 today with the slogan ‘Lifetime Experience’. Respective province chiefs also launched the campaign in all seven provinces at the same time.
Addressing the inauguration ceremony, President Bhandari said the country’s economy was dependent on tourism, which had been affected by the long civil war and unstable political system.
Mythical creature Yeti has been selected as mascot of the yearlong campaign as well as stickers targeting ambitious drive also was launched over the Viber.
Tourism ministers from India, China, Myanmar and Jamaica were present during the inauguration and extended their good wishes to Nepal for the grand success of the VN2020 campaign.
The inauguration ceremony of the mega tourism campaign kicked off with chanting of mantras of seven religions — Hinduism, Buddhism, Islam, Kiratism, Christianity, Jainism, Sikhism — practised in the country. Viber stickers of VN2020 and mascot for the campaign, Yeti, were also released during the inauguration.
What are the problems that need to be solved?
Many tourism entrepreneurs are not happy with the planning for this year’s campaign. According to senior tourism entrepreneurs, in the past, the government joined with the private sector and gave them equal ownership. This campaign has not effectively taken the private sector on board, despite being led by Suraj Vaidya, a private sector industrialist.
The government is still not clear on how it will draw in the targeted number of tourists and from which countries, they said. Air connectivity is another issue as it has not improved as it should, if visitors’ numbers are to double this year.
Even though the government had three years to prepare adequately for the campaign, nothing substantial has been visible.
Visit Nepal’s declaration had put pressure on the government to complete two long-running airport upgradation projects: Gautam Buddha Airport in Bhairahawa and Tribhuvan International Airport in Kathmandu. But both projects, after years of delays, remain incomplete.
Travel trade entrepreneurs are also worried that neither the government, the Nepal Tourism Board nor the Visit Nepal 2020 Secretariat has done anything substantial to promote Nepal abroad to attract tourists. A glaring lapse is that the Nepal Tourism Board, the country’s tourism promotional body, is currently without a leader, even as the country inaugurated the ambitious campaign on Wednesday.