Himalayan News Service

Kathmandu, March 23:

Despite improvement in security situation following the imposition of emergency in the country, the arrival of tourists has not increased, tourism experts said at a programme today, blaming the campaign initiated by political parties and rights outfits in the international front for the slump in the sector. They added that the damage could have been controlled had the government mobilised diplomatic missions to explain the situation in time. Narendra Bajracharya, the president of the Hotel Association Nepal, said that though Nepal was a safe destination and the state of emergency was not a problem for tourists, tourism was on the decline because political parties and rights outfits had portrayed Nepal in a negative light.

He was speaking at a press conference organised by the Reporters’ Club here today. He blamed the government for failing to mobilise diplomats in explaining the need for the royal move to the international community. “Soon after the declaration of emergency, the government should have mobilised diplomats to explain to the international community why the move was taken. The government still has time to repair the damage.”

Deepak Mahat, the president of the Trekking Agents’ Association of Nepal (TAAN), said that tourism should be promoted in the international sector to revive the sagging industry. While trekkers in the Everest region have declined by 60 per cent, the overall trekking arrivals have gone down by 75 per cent this year compared to the corresponding period last year, he said. “There is a need to promote Nepal in the international media.”

Nepal, according to Tek Bahadur Dangi, the CEO of the Nepal Tourism Board (NTB), is one of the safest destinations in the world. “However, we haven’t been able to promote the country in the international media. Tourists visiting the country have always said that Nepal is safe.” The NTB is planning to invite about 150 journalists from different countries to Nepal to promote tourism.