Nepal's Tourism Industry Sees Remarkable Turnaround on World Tourism Day Conference
KATHMANDU, Oct 02:On 27th September 2023, Nepal's tourism sector celebrated World Tourism Day with great enthusiasm as it marked a significant recovery of 83 percent compared to the pre-pandemic year of 2019, according to the Nepal Tourism Board (NTB). This growth was celebrated with a national-level conference titled "Ensuring Tourism Benefits: For People, For Planet, and for Prosperity," hosted by Sathsathai, a Kathmandu-based non-profit organization in collaboration with the Ministry of Tourism, Culture, and Civil Aviation.
The event began with the inauguration by Prajeeta Karki, Chairperson of Sath Sathai Foundation, and Sudan Kirati, Minister at the Ministry of Culture, Tourism, and Civil Aviation. The conference focused on the involvement of women in various sectors, such as conservation, protection of flora and fauna, climate change, and mountain cleaning campaigns. The contributions of women to the growth and development of these sectors were acknowledged and appreciated.
The inaugural speech delivered by Prajeeta Karki, Chairperson of Sath Sathai Foundation, marked the beginning of the conference and set the tone for the day's discussions. In her address, she highlighted the theme of this year's World Tourism Day, "Tourism and Green Investment," and emphasized the significant economic growth that has resulted in the creation of over one million jobs within the tourism sector.
During the conference, several important figures joined the event, including Prajeeta Karki, Sudan Kirati, Sushila Sirpali Thakuri (Minister of State for Culture, Tourism, and Civil Aviation), Dr. Dhananjay Regmi (CEO of Nepal Tourism Board), and Ram Hari Khatiwada (Chairman of the State Order and Good Governance Committee), among others. The conference aimed to discuss the roles and responsibilities of women in tourism, issues related to tourism, and investment and policies related to the sector.
Dr. Dhananjay Regmi, CEO of Nepal Tourism Board, gave a presentation on various aspects of tourism in Nepal. He emphasized the government's policies on green investment and conservation, as well as the country's regional and seasonal diversity. He highlighted the importance of diversifying tourism approaches in different zones, including adventure zones, hill stations, cultural trails, wildlife areas, and entertainment zones.
During the presentation on tourism development, Regmi introduced Nepal's geographical model, which encompasses three distinct zones. These include the "HIMAL" Zone for Adventure, the PAHAD Zone for Hill Stations and Mid Hills Cultural Trails, and the TERAI Zone for Wildlife, Culture, Casinos, Parks, and Water Entertainment. Emphasizing the significance of diversifying approaches based on the unique characteristics of each zone, Regmi highlighted the importance of tailoring strategies to maximize the potential of each region.
Brigadier General Sundar Kumar Pandey, representing the Nepal Army, focused on environmental security, conservation of biodiversity, and the promotion and development of tourism. He highlighted the importance of the 2023 May-June "Mountain Cleaning Campaign" and the Nepal Army's role in coordinating and conducting the campaign. He highlighted, “ The aim of the mountain clean-up campaign 2023, was to save the himalayas for the future generation by collecting the waste from mountain higher camps, and providing support to the local economy.”
Dr. Anu Kumari Lama, a tourism specialist, discussed the unique opportunity for prosperity in the Hindu Kush Himalaya region through tourism. She emphasized the importance of tourism in the wider economy and highlighted the vision statement of countries like Bhutan, India, and Nepal, where prosperity is a long-term agenda.
The event concluded with a one-on-one dialogue between Sareeta Shri Gyawali and Sudan Kirati. They discussed the challenges and opportunities in Nepal's tourism sector. Sudan Kirati identified political instability as a primary concern and stressed the need to maintain authenticity in Nepal's tourism industry. Kirati claimed that "tourism in Nepal must be Nepali by nature", further emphasizing the need to maintain authenticity.
The national level conference organized by Sath Sathai Foundation on the occasion of the World Tourism Day ended with the vision of ensuring tourism benefits for people, the planet, and prosperity. The success of the event was summed up by the quote, "Coming together is a beginning, staying together is progress, and working together is a success" by Henry Ford. As Nepal's tourism sector continues to recover and grow, it is crucial for all stakeholders to collaborate and work towards the sustainable development of the industry while preserving Nepal's unique culture and environment.