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Nepal Tourism to look at doubling inbound by celebrating 2020 as ‘Visit Nepal Year’

Thursday, June 13, 2019, 14:11 Hrs  [IST]
HBI Staff | Mumbai

In order to rediscover its lost glory on the global tourism front after unfortunate incidents, including the worst earthquake of 2015, Nepal Tourism will be celebrating 2020 as the Visit Nepal Year. After 2011, this is the second time in the decade that Nepal is embarking on an ambitious programme to promote its tourism spectacle to the travel world through Visit Nepal campaign. Among the objectives of the year-long campaign, the Tourism Board of Nepal hopes to double its current inbound of 1.2 million by the end of December 2020.

Announcing the broad objectives of the campaign at an event in Delhi, Deepak Raj Joshi, CEO, Nepal Tourism Board, said that India both as a close neighbour and the fastest growing outbound travel market is important for its tourism growth, and therefore it is important to engage the travel industry in India and seek support to grow together.  He said that travellers today are looking for easy to travel destinations and Nepal fits the bill with accessibility. Nepal, he said, can offer many experiences to visitors in one holiday. 

Through the Visit Nepal campaign, the Tourism Board would be trying to “break the stereotypes” about Nepal and would be showcasing the entire gamut of products which is available to explore the country from culture to adventure and from spiritual to wildlife and gastronomy, he said.  The CEO said that they will organise array of events both in key cities in India as well as bordering towns like Kanpur, Lucknow, Varanasi, Patna, etc., to promote and showcase the destination in the run up to 2020.

Speaking on the occasion, Suraj Vaidya, National Coordinator, Visit Nepal 2020, said that the idea behind the celebration and campaign is to “share the stories of resilience” of Nepalese people and the destination and send the message that “Nepal is moving forward strongly” after the devastating earthquake five years ago.
Vaidya said that there are a number of events planned and scheduled throughout 2020 to make the visit more memorable to visitors and guests. The Gautam Buddha International Airport at Lumbini is expected to start operations in the first quarter of 2020.  People visiting Kathmandu will have the opportunity to enjoy the Kathmandu valley by night with seven heritage sites fully lit up.  Nepal Tourism will be opening new circuits like Shiv Shakti Parikrama for spiritually-inclined tourists. Nepal Tourism will host events like Everest Marathon, International Mountain Biking contest, River Rafting contests, etc. to keep adventure-seekers busy throughout the year, he said. Besides that there will be conferences on Sustainable Tourism, Nepal Tourism Investment Summit, World Happiness Day celebration, etc. scheduled next year.  

On the accommodation side, Nepal has seen opening of three international luxury hotels last year, and brands like Dusit, Sheraton, and Double Tree by Hilton are slated to open in the coming years. Nepal Tourism has brought on board key influencers as destination ambassadors, Vaidya said.  These include Roelly Winklaar, Chef Heinz Egli, Mariko Hayashi, Eric Valli, among others.  Nepal Tourism has finalised major campaigns with Lonely Planet, Ctrip, TripAdvisor and MakeMyTrip to promote the destination among international travellers.

Nepal received 2 lakh Indian visitors last year.  Joshi said that they look to double the Indian visitations in 2020 through educating the travel trade as well as through consumer campaigns.  However, he said that Nepal only counts Indian tourists using the air travel mode and the actual numbers far exceed as lot of Indian tourists use the land borders.  

When asked about tourist safety, Joshi said that aviation safety is a priority of the government and they have started investing in technologically advanced weather forecasting systems and early warning systems to avoid accidents in the challenging terrains of the country.   

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