Now that we are few breaths away from the significant year of Visit Nepal 2020, the surge amongst everyone, from travelers to tourism operators is rising. Undoubtedly, the success of Visit Nepal 2020 is going to be the game-changer for the face of tourism in Nepal.
With the total target of welcoming 2 million visitors in the year 2020, some experts have even referred the campaign to be over-ambitious and far-fetched. Although the existing hotels and lodges in Nepal can accommodate 2.5 million visitors, from an environmental point of view, the campaign is implausible.
The campaign of Visit Nepal 2020 was actually slated for 2018; however, the slow pace of road and airport up-gradation and heritage restoration projection caused to postpone for 2020.
Look Back to Previous Campaigns
Nepal launched its first national tourism campaign in 1998 as “Visit Nepal 1998” to bolster the growing tourism industry. The attempt was worth bringing 463,684 visitors, representing a growth of 10 percent year-on-year.
Then, the second campaign was launched by Nepal Government as “Nepal Tourism Year 2011” with the aim of bringing 1 million tourists. However, actual arrival fell short of the target, with total 736,215 visitors, representing a growth of 22 percent over the previous years. It was finally in 2018 when Nepal met its much-coveted one million targets in 2018 for the first time with 1.1 million foreign tourists.
The tourism industry of Nepal was thwarted after the devastating earthquake of 2015 when the number of tourists dived down to 539,000; almost one-third of loss.
Major Highlights of Visit Nepal 2020
Newly Discovered High Altitude Lake
Nepal, as the home of Himalayas already harbors several tallest mountains in the world and those very mountains have formed several high altitude lakes, often referred to as Himalayan Lakes. Tilicho, Gosaikunda, Shey Phuksundo, and Panch Pokhari already attracts a huge influx of trekkers and travelers for their glaring beauty amid the snow-capped mountains is undeniable.
However, recently, a new lake has been discovered in impressively high altitude elevation at 5,200 meters in Chame Rural Municipality, Manang.
According to the representative of the municipality, some animal herders in the area said they had reached the lake, and as soon as they knew this, they made an immediate plant to see it for themselves.
A total team member of 29 including officials and security agencies embarked towards the lake on July 21, following the lead of Bhairu Gurung, a 22-year-old local shepherd known to the lake’s location.
And indeed, the lake was there, located in the most exquisite setting offering the view of an array of mountains. Although the lake is named “Kajin Sara” on Google Maps, locals call it Singar Lake.
It lies in Annapurna Himalayan Range, east of Lamjung Himal and north-east to Singar Himal, towards the southwest of Chame, which falls en route Annapurna Circuit.
This new discovery has certainly fluttered the interest of trekkers in Nepal; however, it is yet to be scientifically verified. By 2020, the lake is bound to be one of the trekkers' destinations as it is only 24 km away from Chame.
Another International Airport
It is a matter of shame to say that the only international airport of Nepal looks no less a jam in the subway. The negligence of Nepal’s Government has caused and create enough hurdles for air-travelers. Landing in Nepal, if the first thing you see is an unmanaged horde of people and mess of everything; well, no doubt the expectation drops.
So, to put a relief to visitors and as an act of endeavor towards Visit Nepal 2020, Nepal Government is in the process of upgrading Gautam Buddha Airport (Bhairawaha Airport) into an international airport.
The condition of existing Tribhuwan International Airport is quite saddening; it faces severe traffic congestion, and it is running out of its maximum capacity. After the establishment of this second international airport in Nepal, we can certainly hope all the visitors can at some level of ease.
The stream of modern tourism started flowing in Nepal only after 1951 when Nepal finally opened its gates to foreigners. Since then, Nepal has witnessed a drastic change in the tourism sector. And talking about ecotourism, conservation activities begin in Nepal during the early 1970s with the establishment of Chitwan National Park and other conservation zones. However, the ecotourism activities started only after the inception of the Annapurna Conservation Area Project (ACAP) in 1986.
In a manner of speaking, Nepal is a cluster of villages and small communities nestled from extremely high altitude to the jungles of Terai, and with regard to this very fact, Visit Nepal 2020 is all about sustainable tourism from community-run program to wildlife conservation sites.
Annapurna, Sagarmatha and Langtang region; the three highly concentrated trekking region of Nepal, is the largest ecotourist receiving zone in Himalaya region. Family-run teahouses and homestay, community-operated protected zones, local guides and porter and goods produced using local means and resources are attempts towards sustainable tourism.
Likewise, other ecotourism sites include Chitwan, Bardia, Koshi Tappu, Upper Mustang, Simikot, Manalsu, Kanchenjunga and Ghalegaon, and it is gradually spreading over other parts of the country.
To stay in one of the family-operated homestays, being a part of their family and closely witnessing Nepali culture and tradition is far more rewarding, adventurous, and influential.
Biodiversity is Boasting
The fact that Nepal is bestowed with the spectacle of nature is quite extraordinary. Such a small country, yet, from the tallest mountains in the world to the astounding exhibition of biodiversity settled in the dramatic geographical setting, Nepal divulges its visitors in an ultimate pool of nature and lets out with the experience of a lifetime.
With six conservation areas over the country, Nepal bolsters its biodiversity, and so far the effort is paying off far better. After trekking and mountain climbing, embarking on a wildlife-tour is another favorite activity in Nepal.
Tiger, one of the most elusive wildlife in the world, has its population surging in Nepal. Based on recent tiger survey, the number of wild tigers in Nepal is 235, and with this pace, the country is on the quest of becoming the first country in the world to double the number of Tigers by 2022.
From the global population of species, 8.9 percent of birds, 3.72 percent of butterflies and 3.96 percent mammals reside in Nepal. Yarshahumba (Cordyceps sinesis) and one-horned rhinos are the most valuable flora and fauna.
Some endangered animals in Nepal are rhinoceros, musk deer, pangolin, tiger, red panda, Himalayan black bear, and common leopard. However, in recent years, the number of tiger and rhinoceros has increased.
Newly Discovered Trails
Already famous for trekking all around the world, Nepal is visited a large group of people for the sole purpose of trekking along with the staggering range of Himalayas. However, trekkers find it unpleasant and feel disturbed to walk in a crowd. The destinations are optimum, and the trails to conquer is being discovered every day.
These newly discovered trails are one of the major highlights of Visit Nepal 2020, for those who want to embark on the trek equally enticing, but in a more peaceful and serene trail where they can immerse in nature to the fullest.
Number Cheese Circuit, Chepang Hill Trek, Gorilla Trek, Tsum Valley, Tamang Heritage Trail, Bhairav Kunda Trek, Khair Trek, Dudh Kunda Trek and Great Himalayan Trail are some of the newly discovered trails in Nepal for the tranquil-trek lovers of Visit Nepal 2020.
Endeavors on the Successful Execution of Visit Nepal 2020
With an allocated budget of Rs 10 crores for Visit Nepal 2020 by Ministry of Tourism and Rs 50 lakhs by NTB to cover the secretariat and operational expenses for campaign; every sector from Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation (MoCTCA), NTB to the private sector, are endeavouring for the successful execution of Visit Nepal 2020.
-Promotion of around 100 new tourist destinations with at least ten new destinations in each province is in the plan of NTB. These places are spread across the country; thus, it will be tourism growth and the country’s overall economic development as well.
-NTB has also received recognition from UNWTO which has highlighted Nepal as the third fastest growing country in terms of tourist arrivals.
-Digital promotion campaigns in source markets and countries are in plan which will receive continuous boosting content on a different digital platform. “Visit Nepal 2020: Lifetime Experience”, the theme of the campaign have been translated into ten different languages to connect better. As per the CEO of NTB, Deepak Raj Joshi, Visit Nepal 2020 will be promoted in mass media through CNN, BBC, Trip Advisor, Lonely Planet, and so on.
-Likewise, NTB has started partnering and jointly promoting the campaign with major tour companies, airlines, NRN communities, and through a diplomatic mission.
-In this campaign, the potential of Nepal is being utilized to a greater extent. As Nepal is always positioned as a mountainous country and for a hardcore adventure traveler, this time, more focus is towards the promotion of cultural heritage and tradition.
-Similarly, the private tour operators are providing different offers, schemes, and recommendations to attract more visitors, while promoting in a digital way targeting foreign clients. Providing discount in a special group with friends and family, success party after completion of the trek, a day tour in Kathmandu charging no cost for a large group, no trekking cost for the leader of a group who handles everything; well, the creativity is rising as Visit Nepal 2020 is approaching.
-In the recent meeting of, NTB, Visit Nepal 2020 Secretariat and travel trade entrepreneurs on August 9, 2019, the private sector suggested temporary measures to the government for the successful campaign of Visit Nepal 2020. They also expressed the grievances on slow overseas promotional activities, pollution, expensive aviation fuel charge, taxes on foreign trekkers, and unmanaged airport infrastructure.
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