EDITORIAL: Tapping tourism

Tourism-related projects should receive due priority while planning the development of tourism and at the same time there should be more promotion of tourism by the country

Things have been hard for the Nepalis who had to cope with the mega earthquake of April 25 and several powerful aftershocks after that and then the surfacing of strife in the central Tarai region. Now, however, Nepalis can look for a better future this year. The website of the London-based Rough Guides has recommended Nepal as the top country to be visited. Nepal is now in the most must-visit country listing in 2016. This is some good news for the tourism industry which is experiencing a slump and is in dire straits with only a few visitors trickling in at the moment, although their number is gradually rising as things are becoming normal. But Nepal can expect more visitors and live up to their expectations if we first put our house in order. This means an end to all political strife in the country so that it is peaceful and capable of hosting more foreign guests. We should be able to guarantee that tourists can enjoy all the conveniences and facilities, including free travel, while in Nepal without worrying about agitation, bandhs, violence, lack of transport services, etc.

Not far in past, Nepal was known world-wide as one of the most peaceful countries in the world. But beginning with the start of the Maoist insurgency, Nepal’s tourist industry also started gradually going down, and even after the end to the insurgency, political instability followed by protests, agitations, bandhs etc have continued to take its toll on one of the country’s major foreign exchange-earning industries. The tourist pullers are the majestic Himalayas and the varied landscapes where we find unique flora and fauna with diverse culture that is not found anywhere else in the world. Even as we look forward to the arrival of more tourists we should realize that we should be providing quality tourism services. The promotion of independent home stays and grassroots tour companies, among others, helps increase the income of local people and entrepreneurs. Due preference should be given to tourists who spend more so that more money falls into the state’s coffers. Such visitors should be encouraged to stay longer that would boost the earnings from tourism, which was one of the major earners. Merely increasing the number of non-spenders does not seem to be wise.

The prospects for tourism are immense. The famed Lumbini, the birthplace of Lord Buddha, could promote pilgrimages of Buddhists from around the world. Building the necessary infrastructure such as another international airport in the country could help in this endeavor. Meanwhile, all tourists should be required to spend a certain minimum amount of money with documents verifying this. Those failing to do so should not be encouraged to visit as they would become a burden on the already scarce resources that we possess. The forecast that Nepal could be the leading tourism destination should be a morale booster. Tourism-related projects should receive due priority while planning the development of tourism and at the same time there should be more promotion of tourism by the country.

Unsafe meat

Police have rounded up two butchers for selling around 500 kilograms of rotten and unhygienic meat to unsuspecting customers from the heart of the capital city. The two butchers operating three meat shops were found to have kept the rotten mutton underneath the fresh meat. A sample of the unhygienic meat has been sent to the Department of Food Technology and Quality Control for test and the rest was disposed of. In other areas where a large quantity of buff meat and fish are sold were also inspected by the concerned authorities who found that the condition of those places were unhygienic.

The authorities have warned the meat sellers to maintain hygienic conditions and told them to sell only the healthy meat in a good environment. During winter people tend to consume more meat. However, most of the meat shops inspected were found to be unsafe and unhygienic leading to serious public health hazards. It is the meat items that can easily spread communicable and animal-borne diseases. It is therefore necessary that the concerned authorities should routinely inspect all the meat shops and take legal action for flouting the law.