Stakeholders hopeful of growth in tourist arrivals

Promulgation of New Constitution

Tourism entrepreneurs have welcomed the promulgation of Constitution of Nepal 2015, saying that tourism industry will prosper in the days to come as it is directly related to peace and political stability in the country.

The fact that political stability and the restoration of peace has direct relation to tourism was proved in 2007 when the number of tourist visiting Nepal with the end of decade-long insurgency (1996-2006). Tourism arrivals during the year increased by 37.2 percent to 526,705 compared to arrival figures of 2006.

Welcoming the new constitution, tourism entrepreneurs said peaceful environment and stable political situation will help to attract foreign direct investment (FDI) in the country. Basant Raj Mishra, chairman of Temple Tiger Group of Companies, said arrival figures of 2007 proved that tourism industry prospers in peaceful and stable situation. “We saw sustained growth in tourist arrivals until 2012,” Mishra said, adding, “This time also, we are hopeful that the industry will flourish as the promulgation of new constitution will create peaceful environment in the country.”

Tourist arrivals data also substantiates the fact that tourism cannot flourish in unstable situation. Country’s tourist arrivals hit the lowest in 2002 when only 275,468 tourists visited the country. Arrival figures kept fluctuating during the decade-long insurgency. Compared to figures of 1999 when the country had welcomed 491,504 tourists, tourist arrivals fell by 22 percent to 383,926 in 2006.

STABILITY WILL OPEN NEW OPPORTUNITIES

Minister for Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation Kripasur Sherpa said tourism industry will flourish as promulgation of new constitution will create stable political situation in the country. “Now we can ensure that tourists will not suffer any hassles in Nepal,” he said, adding the government will make necessary amendments to Tourism Act, bring new policies, and focus on infrastructure development and employment creation.

Now that the constitution is promulgated, Bijay Amatya, CEO of Kora Tours, said they were hopeful that the government will come up with clearly defined investment-friendly policy.

Yogendra Sakya, coordinator of National Tourism Promotion Committee (NTPC), said more tourists would come to this beautiful country if there is peace, stability and security. “The government should now focus on creating a ‘prosperous Nepal’. Political revolution should end and economic revolution should begin,” he added.

Tourism Secretary Dinesh Kumar Thapaliya said the promulgation of new constitution will end uncertainties and political instability. “It will open up new opportunities and create investment-friendly climate. Tourism sector will prosper in the coming days,” he added.

‘TOURIST ARRIVALS WILL INCREASE’

With political situation turning stable, tourism entrepreneurs as well as government officials are hopeful that tourist arrivals will increase in the coming days. “As this is the peak season, we are receiving queries from tourists willing to visit Nepal. With the promulgation of new constitution, we can now tell them that political situation has turned stable,” Mishra, who is also the secretary cum treasurer of Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA), said.

Govinda Bahadur Karki, director general of Department of Tourism (DoT), said with the end of political stability and formation of stable government, Nepal will receive more tourists in the days to come. “We are hopeful that there won’t be banda and strikes. Tourists can travel in a peaceful environment without any hindrance,” he added.

Similarly, Secretary Thapaliya said stakeholders should now work toward promoting Nepal as a destination for all season.

– REPUBLICA

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