As the government has set a target to bring in two million tourists each year by 2020, the Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation (MoCTCA) has planned to organise ‘Visit Nepal Year’ in 2020 to attract more tourists to the country. Unveiling the action plan of the ministry for the next two months, Tourism Minister Jitendra Narayan Dev said that the ministry will establish a secretariat for the Visit Nepal Year shortly to make necessary preparations.
Earlier, the MoCTCA had planned to celebrate Visit Nepal Year in 2018, which was put off due to the delay in construction of airports, heritage sites and roads. The 60-day action plan unveiled today has given due priority to the early completion of the construction and expansion of the international and domestic airports, heritage sites and other tourism infrastructure. The government has planned to complete the expansion of Tribhuvan International Airport and construction of Gautam Buddha Airport in Bhairahawa before the Visit Nepal Year. Likewise, the reconstruction of major heritage sites is expected to be completed before 2020.
In its 60-day plan, MoCTCA has said that it will frame country-wise tourism promotion strategy and bring it into implementation. Country-wise tourism strategy will help the tourism promotion organisations to carry out promotionalactivities to tap potential outbound travellers of concerned countries. Currently, India, China, United States of America, United Kingdom and Sri Lanka are the major source countries of tourists.
In the context of rising number of outbound travellers in India and China, the country wise tourism promotion strategy will help Nepal to tap the outbound travellers of the neighbouring nations. The country will identify the reasons behind low growth in tourist arrivals and take necessary measures to attract more tourists in the country, according to Minister Dev.
He further said that the air service agreements with the United Arab Emirates, Turkey and New Zealand will be finalised soon. The action plan also states that MoCTCA will review the air service agreements with Thailand, Japan, Egypt and China, among others.
The ministry will initiate the process to bring strategic partner for Nepal Airlines Corporation (NAC) — the national flag carrier — and also take forward NAC’s proposal to purchase two more narrow-body aircraft. The business plan submitted by NAC for the commercial operation of two wide-body aircraft that the corporation is in the process of purchasing and its plans regarding human resources will be finalised in the next two months.
The action plan also incorporates plans to amend the Tourism Act to make it more contextual and also plans to amend Casino Regulation, Travel and Trekking Regulation and Mountaineering Expedition Regulation.
Likewise, to bridge the gap in human resources in the tourism sector, which is expected to boom in the future along with the government and private sector’s initiative to achieve robust growth in this sector, Tourism Minister Dev has envisioned to upgrade Nepal Academy of Tourism and Hotel Management to a Tourism University. To establish the Tourism University, the MoCTCA will carry out the necessary groundwork like framing draft law and land acquisition for the university, among others in the next two months.
MoCTCA will also carry out a survey to expand the line agencies of the ministry and the departments to the provincial and local levels. Similarly, it will also frame a master plan for the preservation of tourist sites, as per the action plan unveiled today.