KATHMANDU: The tourism sector of Nepal dived down after the earthquake of 2015 resulting reduction in the number of tourists as well the revenue for the government. But after 2 years of the quake the tourism sector is recovering and getting back to the track. Tourismmail in this context talked to CEO of Nepal Tourism Board, Mr. Deepak R. Joshi on the situation after the major setback.
Q: What is the current situation of the Tourist flow in Nepal? What is the NTB doing to bring in tourists in the country?
A: In recent days we have witnessed a significant flow of tourists. Especially this monsoon which usually is regarded as the off season has seen satisfactory flow of tourists. Recently, we have launched a campaign in India targeting the summer vacation entitled “Garmi se behal chalo Nepal”. We think that also has worked and during the summer vacation the majority of tourists are Indians who comes Nepal with their own vehicles.
Q: What are the destinations favored by the tourists who are coming Nepal though its monsoon or the off season?
A: The Pokhara, Kathmandu, Mutinath, Upper lying districts and places of Dharan are now filled with majority of Indian tourists. The number of Chinese tourists is somewhat satisfactory and some European tourists also are landing in Nepal despite the off season and in total we can claim that the flow is satisfactory.
Q: In which countries have you launched the campaigns to lure the tourists?
A: We now are focusing on the promotional events. Recently, we went to some of the cities of India’s and participated in the trade fair there and has been promoting Nepal’s natural beauties. We also are doing same in the Japan and South East Asia, we just completed it in China, the campaign is underway in USA’s four cities, In Europe we have been luring the people there with the campaign Visit Nepal Europe Year in co-ordination with Nepali Diaspora and communication officials of NTB there along with the Nepali Embassy there. We are in attempt to be visible all around the globe and its impact is being visible slowly.
Q: The destinations which the tourists visit most or like most?
A: Nepal is one of the best destinations to visit. Inside Nepal a tourist can go to Pokhara, Lumbini, Chitwan, Annapurna, Everest, Langtang region along with Illam, Dharan, Koshi Tappu, Khaptad, Rara, Dolpa, Bardiya, Suklaphanta etc. are favored by the tourists.
Q: After the 2015 quake the flow of tourists in Nepal dropped subsequently. During your campaigns at present what changes and psychology did you observe?
A: We can regard the earthquake as a major setback for Nepali tourism in entire history. The country was reeling hard and had to face major obstacles. The flow of tourists for some months after the quake can be placed to zero. On the basis of media coverage it was fruitful for some hotels as they got guests but the zero effect of earthquake like Pokhara, Lumbini, Chitwan the number of tourists remained severe. It was a very adverse situation. After that we came up with aggressive campaigns claiming a united voice which was required for and launched programs in coordination with industries. As a effect of that people understood about that the effect of earthquake is only confined in some of the districts of the ten districts and others are intact. They came to know that the remaining places are intact and there are a lot of places to visit and the number of the tourists is increasing.
Q: What can we expect this year? Will the condition improve?
A: Talking about the data the 2015 faced the earthquake, in 2016 we gained the growth of 40 Percent which means 7 Lakh 53 Thousand and that number was low in comparison to a year before the earthquake. This year we are expecting 20 percent growth in comparison to the previous year and we are fully confident that this year we will see the highest influx of tourists this year.
Q: The reconstruction of the heritage sites are still to start and the delayal is being made by the Department of Archeology. What visible effects have you seen in the field of tourism because of it?
A: The issue is being raised timely. Nepal’s rebuilding process is being raised time and again. It indeed has given a negative implication to the international sphere because it has raised the question, “Why should I visit Nepal if nothing is built again till now?” But the Nepal Tourism Board which is functioning as the message spreader in the foreign countries and informing them that this is the suitable season to visit Nepal. It indeed is the best time to visit Nepal because they can see and know how the construction of ancient heritages takes place and what are the procedures? We indeed can term it as live museum.
Q: It is often said that the tourists feel insecure in Nepal. Is it so?
A: Many of the foreign organizations have made an research over it. In most of the reports prepared by them they have placed Nepal on top of the lists which are the green countries with much more security in comparison to other South Asian Countries. The visitors themselves also say that Nepal is a safer zone for to visit and looking back to the time; no tourist was harmed or threatened during the time of insurgency. This has also conveyed the message of Nepal as safe destinations for tourists. But the lesser danger in Nepal are the perilous condition of the roads and the means of transport are not much convincing. As the tourists are assured with the securities 30 to 35 percent of the tourists who visit Nepal once visit Nepal time and again.
Q: What are you expecting in upcoming year?
A: The government has set the year of 2018 as the year to bring in One Million tourist and has set the slogan as per it and we are optimistic that we will be able to match the expectation as the flow of tourists is subsequently improving.