NTB homework on internal tourism

KATHMANDU: Nepal Tourism Board (NTB) will start research and compile domestic tourism statistics that will reflect a true picture of the tourism industry. The research will be first of its kind as till date there is no such research done on domestic tourism industry, said Kashi Raj Bhandari, director of planning and monitoring at NTB.

One can get indication data from Tourism Satellite Accounting (TSA) annually but for an exact picture of the tourism industry, the overall data after research on domestic tourism will help make exact evaluation.

“To retrieve data and statistics about domestic tourism, NTB will start household surveys from Kathmandu, Pokhara and Chitwan regarding the domestic tourist scenario,” said Bhandari. He added that there is no statistical data on total domestic tourist movement in the country. “NTB is also trying to recognise domestic tourists as tourists in the Tourism Master Plan that will be prepared,” said nformed Bhandari. There are a number of destinations that are mainly visited by domestic tourists, not foreigners. “We will start data collection and do research on domestic tourism. We are hopeful of compiling the data by the end of the present fiscal year,” Bhandari added. Amongst the four main aims of Nepal Tourism Year 2011, development and promotion of domestic tourism is a priority.

Giving the example of New Zealand, Bhandari said that in the TSA report of New Zealand the tourism industry was worth $18 billion of which domestic tourism’s worth comprised $10 billion. “We are doing groundwork and will appoint researchers who will do research on domestic tourism,” he said.

According Emery Express Travels managing director Pramod Kumar Shrestha, there is no age barrier in domestic tourism. However, it is mainly the teenagers and students who travel as per school curriculum. Emery Express Travels has been working since 12 years on selling domestic holiday packages promoting internal tourism.

Shrestha said nowadays there is growth in domestic tourism. Major destinations for domestic tourists are Kathmandu, Pokhara, Chitwan, Lumbini, Palpa, Makwanpur, Nagarkot and Dhulikhel. On an average, about 50,000 to 60,000 domestic tourists travel annually to Pokhara and Chitwan, Shrestha said. He added that private travel and tour operators should focus on promotion of domestic tourism with affordable domestic tour packages.

Domestic tourism, also called internal tourism, consists of staying in one’s own country but visiting a different city that one does not live in.

Not only foreign tourists, even many internal tourists also prefer to stay in the comfort of a homely environment away from the hustle-bustle of city life. The desire for such holidays has given rise to the concept of domestic tourism.