Government hunts new tourist locales in Tarai

KATHMANDU: The government is all set to announce the Tarai region as the new tourist destination of Nepal. Targeting Nepal Tourism Year 2011, it will soon announce different places in the Tarai as new tourist destinations.

According to Murari Karki, joint secretary at the Ministry of Tourism and Civil Aviation (MoTCA), there are certain places in the Tarai region which will be announced as new tourist destinations aiming at the promotion of the Tarai region for NTY 2011. Biratnagar, Janakpur, Bhairahawa and Nepalgunj are some of the places identified as new tourist destinations. Each of these will be promoted with special packages and with the endorsement of different tourism products.

“Along with the Himalayan region, the Tarai also has a high potential for attracting tourists,” said Dhruba Narayan Shrestha, coordinator of the tourism sector at Federation of Nepalese Chambers of Commerce and Industry and member of NTY 2011’s working committee. According to him, Janakpur can be promoted by introducing marriage packages for Indian tourists from border areas. Similarly, the region has Dhanusha and Jaleshwor which have cultural value.

For overall promotion of the tourism sector, tourism entrepreneurs are urging to identify and develop infrastructure at potential tourist destinations in different districts of the country.

“The Tarai region has long been neglected and has not been promoted as a tourist destination of Nepal. Effecetive promotion of tourism in the Tarai region can attract quality Indian tourists and lengthen the stay period of tourists there,” said Shrestha adding that during NTY 2011 the committee expects the arrival of at least three lakh Indian tourists.

He said, “Indian tourists visiting Nepal are quality tourists with high purchase capacity. They spend 40 per cent more than the tourists from other countries. The Indian tourist across the Tarai border is rich and can afford lengthy stay periods. We need proper infrastructure development and facilities for tourist coming to the Tarai region. The region has high possibility of grow as a major tourist destination, all it lacks is proper marketing and infrastructure. To accommodate the huge number of tourists and cater to their demands, there should be more hotels and there are insufficient facilities in the existing hotels.”

Some of the major tourist destinations in Nepal include Kathmandu, Bhaktapur, Patan, and Pokhara other sites. They are known for their historic sites and sightseeing vistas. Tourists also visit Chitwan National Park, Nagarjuna Forest Reserve, Pashupatinath, Dakhshinakali and many more.