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Nepal Welcomes Tourists With Renewed Zeal

The Visit Nepal Year 2020 aims at creating new experiences for the traveller while highlighting the best the country has to offer.

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Nepal is all set to open its doors to new and exciting possibilities in its endeavour to lure tourists from around the world. While the geographical landscape has anyway been a draw for adventure seekers with 70 per cent of the great Himalayas falling in this centuries-old land, there is an increased focus now on promoting the region for varied experiences. This year, in fact, has been marked as The Visit Nepal Year 2020 and efforts are on to spread awareness and highlight the country’s treasure trove of options available; from ice skating in the highest lake of the world to visiting the oldest Hindu sites and even a luxury lifetime opportunity of enjoying ‘Breakfast on Mount Everest’.

For long, mountaineers have been coming to Nepal, especially during autumn and spring season as the country is home to the highest peak Mount Everest and other seven highest peaks in the world. However, the country is more than just the mountains with a rich diversity in terms of both natural and cultural heritage as the topography changes from north to south. The southern part of the country is replete with lush green jungles perfect for wildlife safaris and the mid-hills with scenic valleys are most popular for hiking,

Suraj Vaidya, National Program Coordinator of the VNY2020 campaign says, “As the country is slowly recovering from the 2015 earthquake by reconstructing the sites and restarting the passes, it seems like the perfect time to kick start a tourism campaign. The campaign is bringing forth various lesser-known destinations and activities for people to visit and do. From developing mountain biking trails in the deepest gorge in the world in Kaligandaki to developing a pilgrimage circuit involving major religious sites like Devghat, Pashupatinath, and Muktinath, the campaign is also organizing and facilitating various events and arts festivals to put Nepal on the map of various sectors like sustainability, photography, and sports among others.”

Keeping in line with expanding opportunities, the JW Marriott hotel in Kathmandu recently opened a world-class casino by the Deltin Group which is expected to see a beeline of casino aficionados from across the subcontinent. According to Anil Malani, President and CEO of Deltin Group, “This is our first international venture and the conducive environment helped us to consider launching the luxury gaming experience in Kathmandu. It has opened very well and a lot of casino tourists who would otherwise go to Singapore or Macau now are expected here.” The opening of this casino takes the casino-tourism landscape in Nepal to greater heights. The launch stands as a notable establishment to contribute to the Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) as well as to the growth of the Nepalese economy. The casino has employed nearly 250 locals as employees who have been trained for 6 months under international supervision to meet the highest standards.

The VNY2020 campaign puts special emphases on debunking any preconceived notions and one of its agenda is to showcase Nepal as a global platform. According to Vaidya, “Nepal has sadly over time been associated more with poverty despite the rich history and valour it originally stood for.  This is a chance to showcase Nepal as a global force and a country of resilience, colourful culture, a role model in nature conservation and more. It is a chance to show that Nepal can give visitors an experience of a lifetime with its food, culture, activities and mostly people.”

 The campaign aims to bring 2 million visitors in the year 2020, almost double the number right now, with the increase in daily spend. The campaign hopes to contribute 10 per cent of the total revenue of the country even beyond 2020. At the same time, the boost in tourism would also mean more employment opportunities in the country and more investment for infrastructure. Because of tourism, the awareness of conservation and preservation of nature and culture like wildlife, historical places, and important watersheds is expected to increase amongst the people, private organizations and government. Interestingly, Nepal is the only country where the tiger population has increased in the last ten years.

Undoubtedly, a country full of surprises and mysteries waiting to be discovered or should we say rediscovered in its new avatar, tourists certainly have a new beat.

Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article above are those of the authors' and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of this publishing house. Unless otherwise noted, the author is writing in his/her personal capacity. They are not intended and should not be thought to represent official ideas, attitudes, or policies of any agency or institution.

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Shveta Bhagat

The author is a Delhi-based freelance writer

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