Nepali tourism fraternity fails to tap Sri Lanka’s tourists

Kathmandu, May 1

In what could be a missed opportunity, Nepali tourism entrepreneurs do not seem enthused to attract tourists that have cancelled their trips to Sri Lanka following the recent serial Easter attacks in hotels and churches there.

“Sri Lanka attracts a large number of budget tourists, who could be lured to Nepal,” admits CN Pandey, president of Nepal Association of Tour and Travel Agents (NATTA). “However, since it is peak tourist season here, entrepreneurs are busy serving the visitors that had chosen to come to Nepal in the first place.”

According to him, tourism entrepreneurs have their hands full at the moment also because the country is gearing up for Visit Nepal Year 2020 campaign.

Meanwhile, Ashok Pokharel, managing director of Shangri-La Tours Pvt Ltd, opined that since the tourism products that Nepal offers is different than that of Sri Lanka, it is unlikely that visitors planning to visit the island country will be interested to come to Nepal.

“We can hope that religious tourists will change their plans and come to Nepal, but those looking for beaches will obviously go somewhere else,” he said.

Some entrepreneurs blame the lack of enthusiasm of the Nepali tourism fraternity on the timing.

“Had it been an off season, I’m sure the tourism entrepreneurs would have come up with lucrative packages to lure Sri Lankan tourists,” said Ramesh Thapa, chairman of Moonsun Travels and Tours Pvt Ltd.

But such laid back attitude could result in Nepal losing out, especially as a recent media report had stated a number of tourists that had called off their trip to Sri Lanka were looking at rival destinations like Nepal.