Nepal | December 14, 2018

Govt unveils Ghumfir Barsa to revive tourism sector after a sluggish year

Civil servants to be required to take at least one week leave and visit a local destination in the new year

Pushpa Raj Acharya
A rickshaw puller passes by the Eternal Peace Flame in the premises of the Mayadevi Temple, in Lumbini

A rickshaw puller passes by the Eternal Peace Flame in the premises of the Mayadevi Temple, in Lumbini, the birthplace of Gautam Buddha, on Thursday, March 17, 2016. Photo: RSS

Kathmandu, April 11

Civil servants must take leave of at least one week and visit a local destination within Nepal in the new year as a part of government’s plan to boost domestic tourism.

The move is expected to generate additional revenue of around Rs 5.7 billion for the tourism sector.

The government is going to announce the programme for civil servants during the first anniversary of the devastating earthquake on Baisakh 12 (April 24), to revive the tourism sector that has been hit hard by the massive temblors of April and May last year and border blockade.

Minister for Tourism Ananda Prasad Pokharel confirmed that Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli will launch the programme that the ministry has designed to stimulate the tourism sector.

“The entire Nepali year 2073 BS will be marked as ‘Ghumfir Barsa’ (Travel Year) and there will be programmes to motivate Nepalis to visit local destinations, with special programmes for the civil servants,” Minister Pokharel said.

“Apart from granting leave for the purpose, the government will also announce incentives for civil servants to encourage them to take the tour.”

There are around 82,000 civil servants in the country.

“If a civil servant goes on a tour for a week with his family, his expense per day during the family trip will be around Rs 10,000.

Thus, we can assume that tourism sector will be able to generate revenue exceeding Rs 5 billion under the civil servants tour scheme,” said Bikram Pandey, founder of Himalaya Expeditions.

He believes that the government’s move will help in speedy recovery of the tourism sector.

The number of foreign travellers is also expected to rise from this year, as the flow of tourists has started to increase with the onset of this year’s tourist season (mid-March to mid-June) for the first time after the devastating earthquakes of last year.

The government unveiled the Ghumfir Barsa campaign in the Capital through Nepal Tourism Board today. NTB is going to launch the campaign in Pokhara, Chitwan, Lumbini, Nepalgunj and Janakpur very soon, according to Deepak Raj Joshi, CEO of NTB.

“As we usher in the new Nepali year, we hope to encourage every Nepali to travel to any local destination at least once within a year,” he said.

The campaign Ghumfir Barsa was launched here today by senior tourism entrepreneur, Ambica Shrestha.

Shrestha, who is the president of Dwarika’s Hotels and Resorts, announced her plan to visit Khaptad National Park, which is located in far-western region of the country in 2073 BS.

“Nepali tourism entrepreneurs tend to focus on local tourists only during turbulent times,” she shared, adding, “But actually we need to treat both local and foreign tourists equally at all times for robust and sustainable growth of the tourism sector.”


A version of this article appears in print on April 12, 2016 of The Himalayan Times.


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