Kathmandu, October 6

Non-Resident Nepali Association (NRNA) has announced that it has begun the campaign to bring 1.6 million foreign tourists to Nepal by 2017-end.

Presenting the work plan of NRNA to promote the country through Nepali diaspora after it signed a pact with Nepal Tourism Board (NTB) last year, NRNA’s Vice President Bhawan Bhatta said that they have started promoting Nepal

as a tourism destination across the world targeting to bring at least 1.6 million foreign tourists in Nepal within 2017.

NRNA had signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with NTB last year to promote Nepal through scattered networks of Nepali diaspora under the banner ‘Atithi Devo Bhava’ which mean that guests are equivalent to God.

“Every individual NRN is aiming to send at least three foreigner friends to visit Nepal. As there are more than five million Nepalis living abroad, this campaign is expected to significantly increase the inflow of foreign tourists in Nepal,” Bhatta said.

Addressing the event, Shesh Ghale, president of NRNA, emphasised on the need to increase organisational coordination between the government agencies and NRNA.

“In the lack of proper coordination and partnership from NTB and concerned ministries, NRNA network, which spans across 75 countries, is facing problems in promoting Nepal as a tourism destination,” said Ghale, adding that government agencies and NRNA should put two-way effort to promote Nepal and increase inflow of foreign tourists in the country.

Meanwhile, Shankar Adhikari, secretary at the Ministry of Culture Tourism and Civil Aviation (MoCTCA), said that lack of proper air connectivity was the major setback for the country’s tourism.

“We don’t have direct flights to and from major destination countries. This has directly affected the number of tourist flow,” said Adhikari, adding that the ministry has initiated to make the national flag carrier Nepal Airlines Corporation (NAC) strong by adding two wide-body aircraft to its fleet.

Adhikari also urged NRNs to invest in country’s tourism industry and other potential sectors

Meanwhile, Deepak Raj Joshi, chief executive officer (CEO) of NTB, expressed his belief that Nepali diaspora and NRNA would help NTB to spread positive message about Nepal in foreign countries.

“It has been brought to our notice that foreigners don’t have good image of Nepal regarding various things. Nepali diaspora and NRNA should try to dispel wrong notion that foreigners might have about Nepal,” Joshi said, adding that Nepal should be promoted as ‘Best Value Destination’ rather than cheap destination in the world.

Similarly, Joshi also urged NRNA to let the world know that Nepal is back on top of the world, especially after the devastating earthquakes of last year. He also assured that NTB is committed to promote travel packages targeting foreign tourists in Nepal to ensure their stay here is a wonderful experience and they take back loads of pleasant memories.