Kathmandu, December 31

The much-awaited Visit Nepal 2020 campaign will kick off tomorrow with the aim of creating a buzz about the country’s tourism sector across the world.

During a special function to be held at Dasharath Stadium tomorrow, President Bidya Devi Bhandari is scheduled to officially announce the commencement of the mega tourism campaign. The third of its type tourism campaign, being held after 2011, primarily intends to glorify Nepal as a tourism hub, especially among visiting international tourists.

Hundreds of foreign delegates, including tourism ministers from India, China, Myanmar and Jamaica arrived today to participate in the inaugural ceremony. Around 40 media houses from across the world have also sent mediapersons to cover the inaugural ceremony of the national campaign.

To make the VN 2020 campaign successful, the government has introduced new destinations, organised national and international sales missions and appointed brand ambassadors for the event while the private sector has offered discount packages for the year-long campaign.

The event is being supervised by the VN 2020 campaign secretariat under the Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation in association with Nepal Tourism Board. Targeting to go beyond the regular products, MoCTCA has introduced 100 new tourist destinations. The ministry had conducted meetings with more than 100 governmental and non-governmental organisations requesting their support to promote this campaign in their respective areas.

Although the VN 2020 promotion has created quite a buzz within the country, the government is yet to put in the required effort to promote the campaign in the international market, said Vinayak Shah, first vice-president of Hotel Association Nepal. “We have enough potential to bring in high-end tourists, but we are still lagging behind in attracting such tourists due to lack of proper tourism infrastructure,” he said. “Moreover, we also have very limited areas where tourists can spend.”

Tourism Minister Yogesh Bhattarai said VN 2020 would be the base year for the next one decade. The government is preparing to announce tourism decade from 2021. “The year 2020 alone is not enough for the development we want in tourism sector,” he said. “Tourism decade will be celebrated to bring about a massive change in the tourism industry.”

He added that the VN 2020 was a public campaign where every single Nepali had to chip in to make it successful.

Amidst this, the government has signed an agreement with the Non-Resident Nepali Association to promote the campaign in foreign countries. In cooperation with NRNA, the government is holding ‘Send one foreign friend to visit Nepal’ campaign. The government has also appointed international celebrities as brand ambassadors of the campaign.

The VN 2020 secretariat announced it would organise several grand events in 2020, including Nepal India China Expo, Mustang Trail Race, Everest Marathon, Otaku Jatra, Sustainable Summits Conference, World Trails Conference, the Great Karnali Quest and Kathmandu Triennale.