WORK TOGETHER FOR TOURISM

By KESHAV PATHAK FOR THE ROAMING POST

Nepali tourism has taken a nosedive after the devastative earthquake of 25 April. It is therefore now time has come to think whether we give in before the circumstances or we stand together and work hard to bring Nepali tourism back on track.

Although Nepal had opened its door for foreign visitors since 1951, its pace has been awfully slow. Tourism experts hold bad governance, corruption and lack of vision responsible for the poor performance of Nepali tourism.

Tourism contributes only 3% to gross domestic production. However, tourism sector has created much needed jobs for Nepali youths. As a result tourism sector has been playing a pivotal role to support Nepalese economy. Without doubt Mother Nature has bestowed natural wealth upon Nepal to make this tiny Himalayan country unique and special in the world. However, the country is not being able to utilize those resources which are abundance in the country.

The contribution tourism sector has made to uplift the living standard of the people cannot be undermined. Nepali tourism sector has vast stock of natural wealth and historical monuments of great importance. Hence, Nepali government and private sector must join their hands together to move ahead confidently.

Quality tourism with the assurance of security is the need of the hour. Though Nepal is the first choice of many foreign visitors, frequent Nepal banda and political instability have marred Nepali tourism sector. However, the government’s myopic foreign policy has done more harm than good for the country. Soon after the earthquake in Nepal, the government declared emergency in Kathmandu. This decision of the government discouraged tourists from visiting to Nepal. Nepal has only one international airport so that the only door for the foreign tourists was closed. During that time if Nepal had another international airport one like in Pokhara or in Terai tourists would have not stopped coming to Nepal.

Tourism sector is the backbone of the nation and it must keep moving effectively. All demolished monuments must be restored as soon as possible. It is utmost necessary to give a positive message to the world that Nepal is safe for tourists in every respect. A special survey team has to be appointed to examine all the trekking routes if they are alright for the trekking. If they are damaged due to earthquake and landslide then the trekking routes should be repaired first. Let’s not forget that tourism is the mainstay of Nepali economy. This sector must be supported from all sides only then we can dream of bouncing back of Nepali tourism.

Tourism sector had received a serious setback during a decade long people’s war and now the earthquake has only added more owes. Despite this common Nepali people are not disappointed. They want to rise again to prove that Nepali tourism may be little down but not out as the country has many things for the visitors of worth visiting.

Whatever achievement Nepali tourism has made since 1950 is quite conspicuous before us. Now the path of further journey is fraught with challenges and difficulties. Has earthquake ruined Nepali tourism? Of course not! So, the conclusion is that the only road to development begins from tourism sector. If tourism sector is developed and free from troubles it will give strong support to other sectors of the economy.

About the author

Keshav Pathak is a senior journalist. He can be reached at keshavpat@gmail.com

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