Announcement of ‘Ghumfir Barsa’: Will it be sufficient to uplift gloomy scenario of Nepalese Tourism Sector?

Pokhara Nepal
Posted on: April 19, 2016


Amidst the current gloomy scenario in Nepalese tourism industry, Nepal Tourism Board (NTB) announced the Nepalese New year of 2073 BS, that began from April 13, as ‘Ghumfir Barsa’ or Travel Year for the promotion of internal tourism to support the badly affected tourism industry. But how effective shall the announcement be for the purpose that it seeks to serve?

Problems being faced
Nepal had twin blow of severe nature last year:  devastating earthquake in the beginning of last year and the economic blockade by India combined with the protests in the southern plain of nation. Owing to these severe blows, arrival of tourists dropped to a six-year low of 5,38,970 in the year 2015 which was a sharp drop of 31.78 percent on year-on-year basis. Another program by the name of “Nepal Tourism Year 2011” was not of anticipated success due to several reasons. This campaign of 2011 that started with the slogan ‘Together for Tourism’ and the tagline of ‘Naturally Nepal, Once is not enough’ besides ambitious strategies failed miserably due to political instability. The arrival of 2,25,000 non-Indian tourists shows the dismal performance of the campaign. The earlier campaign of ‘Visit Nepal 1998’ to promote Nepalese tourism industry in international arena and with the aim to receive half a million tourists was badly affected by the internal conflict.
As a well-wisher of this beautiful and lively nation, if you think the main problems that undermine the success of such campaign relates mostly to the political instability. Whatever be the strategies and programs made, the execution part lacks seriousness from the concerned authority and the coordination among the private and public sector is lacking.

Reasons to be hopeful for newly announced campaign
Despite the fate of earlier announced campaigns for the promotion of tourism sector, the freshly announced campaign has some reasons to be hopeful. Let’s assess these one by one.
Government has approached to the domestic travelers for the travel year. The mandatory provision such as the compulsion for civil servants to take a leave of at least one week for visiting a local destination is an encouraging incentive for the campaign. Additional revenue of around Rs. 5.7 billion is estimated to be added by this campaign.
The number of foreign travelers is also expected to increase this year as seen by the increment in the flow of tourists since the start of this year’s tourist season, the first time since the devastating earthquake of last year. This is another boost for the country’s tourism industry.
The news of construction of another international airport in Pokhara might create an environment of cooperation and coordination between the agencies working for the betterment of tourism industry, both the statutory bodies and the private sector.
The wave of nationalism and the lesson learnt from the economic blockade by the neighboring India might encourage the Nepalese travelers to explore the beauty of their motherland rather than visiting the religious and touristic sites in other nations, including neighboring India.

Critical factors
The most important factor for the success of this campaign is political commitment from the government agencies, political parties and private sector. The momentum of ongoing political movement in the nation if supported by a stable government and topmost priority by the government shall make this campaign successful. Tourism blended with volunteering, organization of various festivals highlighting the local specialties of tourism destinations all over the nation, inclusion of diverse touristic destinations and incentives from the part of the government can make the target of this campaign an achievable one.
Thus, you and I have some reasons to be hopeful for the success of this campaign and if the target is achieved tourism sector of Nepal receives a much needed boost. Participation of all the sectors, public and private is sure to make the campaign enough to boost the gloomy tourist sector of Nepal.