Kathmandu, April 26 (IANS) Nepal on Monday formally launched “Ghumphir Barsa 2073” or Travel Year based on Nepal calendar year 2073 BS (Bikram Sambat) that began on April 13 in order to promote domestic tourism.
As the Himalayan country’s tourism industry struggles to recover from last year’s earthquake and subsequent blockade in the country’s southern border, the campaign is an effort to revive the flagging sector by encouraging Nepalese people to travel in various tourist destinations of the country.
Nepalese Prime Minister K.P. Sharma Oli officially launched the campaign amid a function on Monday, urging domestic and international travellers to explore Nepal without hesitation.
“Although we suffered a devastating earthquake last year, most of the tourism destinations are safe except few ones,” said Oli.
He also urged foreign investors to take full advantage of the enormous potential and opportunities to invest in Nepal, asking them not to withdraw after negative rumours about the safety situation in Nepal.
It is the first time that the Himalayan country announced a Travel Year targeting to promote domestic tourism. Earlier, Nepal had implemented “Visit Nepal 1998” and “Nepal Tourism Year 2011” targeting international visitors.
Tourist arrivals to Nepal fell to a six-year low of 538,970 in 2015, a sharp drop of 31.78 percent from 2014, after the April 25 earthquake and subsequent blockade kept visitors away.
According to the Nepal Tourism Board (NTB), the main tourism promotion body of Nepal, it would encourage the private sector to create special packages targeting domestic travellers. NTB has planned to help the private sector to promote the tour packages.
To make the travel year successful, the NTB has suggested an allocation of a separate budget for travel leave for the government employees. Besides, the tourism promotion body has also planned to encourage the corporate sector to provide travel leave holidays.