‘VN 2020 budget should be utilised to promote domestic tourism’

Kathmandu, April 28

Tourism entrepreneurs have opined that the Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation (MoCTCA) should utilise the budget that has been allocated for Visit Nepal (VN) 2020 campaign to promote domestic tourism.

The tourism industry is facing a huge loss due to the coronavirus pandemic and is unlikely to revive anytime soon. Hence, tourism entrepreneurs stressed on the need to promote domestic tourism during a video conference conducted on Monday by XcelTrip Nepal under the title ‘Domestic Tourism and Survival Strategy’.

XcelTrip Nepal is an online travel aggregator (OTA), part of a multinational company based in the United States.

Speaking during the conference, tourism entrepreneur Karna Shakya said that the ministry should take immediate action to promote domestic tourism.

He added that the budget which had been allotted for the tourism campaign could be used for this purpose.

“To help the tourism industry recover Nepal Tourism Board should promote religious, cultural and historic destinations aggressively,” he said.

“Meanwhile, the MoCTCA has to make a contribution to introduce and promote such types of destinations located in the rural areas.”

Shakya further said that the tourism ministry has to form a separate unit to work on domestic tourism specifically.

Addressing the conference, Vinayak Shah, the first vice- president of Hotel Association Nepal, said that service providers have to prepare separate tour and travel packages targeting domestic tourists only.

“During this crisis, domestic tourism is the only way out for the revival of the tourism industry for which we have to promote domestic tourism,” he said.

“Soon after the lockdown is lifted, a large number of people are likely to go for outings, hence, the industry has to lure people to travel by providing attractive packages,” he added.

Shah, however, said that MoCTCA has to play a significant role in promoting domestic tourism.

Meanwhile, Khum Bahadur Subedi, president of Trekking Agencies’ Association of Nepal, said that the association is preparing different trekking packages for domestic trekkers.

“As the trend of trekking among the people has been gradually rising in the country in the recent years, trekking could be another attraction for domestic tourists after the lockdown,” he stated.

Amid this, former chief executive officer of NTB, Deepak Raj Joshi, mentioned that domestic tourism has been increasing since 2016.

“This could be a good opportunity to promote domestic tourism in the country,” he said.

“Promoting domestic tourism could be a successful initiative to revive the country’s tourism industry.”

The government had allocated a total of Rs 650 million for the Visit Nepal 2020 campaign, which was launched amid much fanfare in January.

As the campaign has already been cancelled, the entrepreneurs have suggested the ministry to mobilise the budget to promote domestic tourism as an immediate action to provide relief to the industry.

A version of this article appears in e-paper on April 29, 2020 of The Himalayan Times.