Why Visit Nepal?

Yogesh Bhattarai

Nepal is a unique creation of nature. Visit Nepal to enjoy the excellent and unique natural beauty.  Gain the lifetime experience and take back this experience home.

After a long struggle of Nepali people, Nepal promulgated the constitution from the sovereign Constituent Assembly in 2015. Along with the implementation of the constitution, we have been able to end political discrimination and inequality. After the general elections held in 2017, a stable and strong government has been formed under the leadership of Prime Minister K P Sharma Oli. Stable governments have been formed in all of the seven provinces. Likewise, 36, 639 elected representatives have been working in total of 753 local governments. Necessary laws have been formulated from federal to local government levels. Along with this, Nepal has come forward to the highway of permanent peace, prosperity and stability. 

Now is the time for us to develop the national capital by ending all kinds of economic and political inequalities and build an equitable society. We need to lead the nation toward the path of socialism. We are on the journey of materializing the vision of ‘Prosperous Nepal, Happy Nepali.’ Visit Nepal 2020 is a part of this grand vision. I would like to make appeals to the world community to visit Nepal for several reasons.

Reasons to visit

Nepal is on the road to permanent peace, stability, good governance and prosperity. Conducive environment has been created for investment. Nepal is a virgin land for investment. Please come to Nepal to invest. 

Nepal is a unique creation of nature. Visit Nepal to enjoy the excellent and unique natural beauty. Gain the lifetime experience and take back this experience home.

Nepal is the land of cultural excellence of planet earth. Visit Nepal to enjoy the cultural diversity of this land, gain the lifetime experience and take this experience back home.

Nepal is a special land in terms of religion. Visit Nepal to visit the sacred religious sites, gain the lifetime experience of sanctity and take back this message home.

Nepal is the leading country in terms of bio-diversity. Visit Nepal to feel and see this diversity of wildlife, flora and fauna.

Nepal is a unique tourist destination of the whole world. The natural beauty, culture, traditions and historical and cultural monuments can mesmerize and leave the whole world in awe. Visit Nepal and experience our uniqueness.

Nepal’s hospitality in the true spirit of Atithi Devo Bhaba (guests are like God) is considered as the best in the world.  Each country has its own unique features of tourism. Tourists are curious about what is there to see in which country. But Nepal is such a country where there is everything to see. Which season to visit which country is another important factor for tourists. But Nepal is such a country where every season is special for the tourists. Nepal is suitable for all types of tourism and for all seasons.

The highest Himalayas of the world are located in Nepal. Of the 14 taller than 8,000 meters mountains of the world, eight are in Nepal. Mt Everest, the highest peak of the world, is known to everyone. These Himalayan mountains are the source of mountaineering, trekking, rock climbing, paragliding and other tourism adventures. The joy and excitement one gets in rafting in Nepali rivers is rare to be experienced in other countries of the world. 

Lumbini, the birthplace of Lord Buddha, the apostle of peace, is in Nepal. Here is where Pashupatinath temple, the most revered shrine of the Hindus is located. Other sacred pilgrimage sites such as Muktinath, Janakpurdham, Halesi, Pathibhara, Khaptad and Swargadari are in Nepal. Nepal has 20 protected areas covering 23.23 percent of total areas of the land. Chitwan National Park, Kathmandu Valley, Lumbini and Sagarmatha National Park are listed as world heritage sites. Seven of the heritages such as Kathmandu Durbar Square, Patan Durbar Square, Bhaktapur Durbar Square, Pashupatinath, Swyambhunath, Boudhanath and Changu Narayan are also listed as world heritage sites. In a country that is geographically small in size, there are 125 ethnic communities and 123 languages.

There are total of 872 species of birds in Nepal, which is nine percent of the whole world. We have 10 national parks, three wildlife reserves and one hunting reserve, 12 buffer zones and 10 wetlands in Nepal. Nepal occupies 0.03 percent of world’s geography but in terms of bio-diversity Nepal is among the richest countries in the world. In terms of geographical diversity, Nepal has 35 types of forests and 248 types of local flora and fauna.

Nepal in itself is an important package for the tourists. Like great Nepali bard Laxmi Prasad Devkota said long ago there is infinity in Nepal. There is subtle reflection of everything that exists and possibly exists on this planet in Nepal. Heaven is on this land. What is not there in Nepal?

Tourism for prosperity 

Tourism has a key role in Nepal’s economic development. Nepal was opened for foreign tourists only after 1951. In the last six decades, big changes have taken place in Nepal’s tourism sector. As the country is moving forward toward permanent peace, stability and prosperity, the government has set a goal of making tourism one of the key pillars of Nepali economy. This is the reason the government of Nepal has declared 2020 as Visit Nepal year. Visit Nepal 2020 has been inaugurated in all of the seven provinces. We want to make it a national celebration. We have set the target of bringing in two million tourists during this national celebration year. 

To make tourism a real pillar of Nepal’s economic development, the target of two million tourists and this program itself is not adequate enough. Thus, we will consider this year as the point of beginning. The year 2020 will create a national psychology for tourism. This will open the new horizon and pave the new path and new light. We plan to follow this path and mark 2020-2030 as the tourism decade.

Tourism has contributed to around seven percent of total of Nepal’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP). By the time the 15th fifth-year plan comes to completion, we have aimed to increase this figure to 10 percent. Foreign tourists have been spending 44 $ each per day in Nepal. We aim to raise this spending to 80$ and bring in 3.5 million tourists to Nepal every year.

Connectivity is vital for tourism. In this regard, the government has expedited infrastructure development projects. Tribhuvan International Airport is the only international airport of Nepal. But this is not going to be the case anymore. Gautam Buddha International Airport in Lumbini is under construction. It is going to come into operation soon. Likewise, Pokhara Regional Airport is also under construction. This airport will come into operation by 2021. The Nijgadh International Airport of Bara district is the national pride project of the government of Nepal. To realize the vision of tourism promotion, construction of Nijgadh International Airport is necessary. I am delighted that national consensus has been established for this project. At the same time, we have also sped up the process of more effective management and upgradation of other internal airports.

We aim to raise the share of contribution of tourism sector in overall economic growth, per capita income and GDP by increasing the revenues from tourism and by increasing employment opportunities. For this, Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation has stressed on expansion of tourism infrastructure development and services, increasing quality tourism, marketing and branding, human resource development, development of cultural heritages, research and documentation among other things. 

We have a program for encouraging diversification of services to attract tourists, enhancing quality of human resource in the field of heritage and tourism sector, and encouraging and increasing participation of local communities so as to alleviate poverty through tourism. The active participation shown by the private sector in preparation for Visit Nepal 2020 and their commitment for future programs is quite laudable. Cooperation and coordination with the private sector will be further enhanced in the days to come. We are thankful to organizations associated with tourism sector, including national and international air service providers, for their active involvement in tourism promotion. 

On the occasion of inauguration of Visit Nepal 2020, I would like to reiterate that this is the beginning of our national celebration. Such a celebration which will contribute to the success of our national ambition and our vision of prosperity. With this campaign, we will set a new benchmark in tourism. We will create a new image of Nepal in the hearts and minds of the world community.

The author is the minister of culture, tourism and civil aviation of Nepal. The article is the edited version of the speech the author delivered on the inauguration ceremony of Visit Nepal 2020 on Wednesday

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