Tourism development to be prioritised at local level: DPM Mahara

Kathmandu, July 31

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Foreign Affairs Krishna Bahadur Mahara today said that the government would give high priority to boost tourism in local units.

Speaking at a programme organised at the Nepal Tourism Board (NTB) today, Mahara stressed that tourism development can play a significant role in the overall development of the country, which is why government will place tourism agenda on high priority.

Stating that the previous government, of which he was the finance minister, has disbursed a huge volume of development budget to local units, Mahara urged every local government to use some portion of the development budget for tourism development.

“Development of tourism sector is the base for overall development of the country. With country adopting the federal system, local governments have a bigger role in enhancing tourism sector,” said Mahara.

Similarly, Deepak Raj Joshi, chief executive officer of NTB, said that tourism development, especially in the country like Nepal which is blessed with natural beauty and various sites with different cultural and religious significance, is more in the hands of local communities and its people and the private sector.

“Places close to the Valley like Nuwakot and Dhulikhel are turning into highly preferred tourist destinations. Thus, the local community and people in such places should explore different ways to promote their areas to attract more tourists,” Joshi said, adding government can only play the role of the facilitator for tourism entrepreneurs and local people.

Joshi also urged domestic tourism entrepreneurs to run tourism-related businesses at commercial scale, maintain cleanliness and support visiting tourists during their stay.

However, tourism entrepreneurs from different districts, who had participated in the event, said that government has not been able to introduce aggressive policies and programmes to boost country’s tourism and that Nepal’s tourism industry is being driven by the private sector alone.