The Covid-19 pandemic broke the back of Nepal’s tourism industry. Even though there are people coming in, they are in low numbers. Consequently, people who have spent millions of rupees in the industry fear they will never be able to recover the amount they lost to the pandemic.
Amid this situation, Nepal Tourism Board aims to create a space for recovery. The board estimate that Nepal will see around 200,000 tourists by the end of the current fiscal year (mid-July, 2022). To serve them, it has announced a budget of Rs 920 million.
Here, we present to you the major highlights of the budget plan of the country’s top tourism development body.
1. Promotion and publicity
According to the NTB, around Rs 140 million will be spent on promoting Nepal’s tourism market. This includes taking part in international travel marts that take place across the globe.
A further Rs 40 million has been set aside for promotion, mostly through digital marketing. The fund will also be used by tourism board officials for emergency travel.
For the proposed research of an online market system, Rs 20 million has been set aside while Rs 15 million will be used for the development of information centres in different provinces.
As always, the board will take part in almost all the important travel marts that it has been taking part in, like the travel marts in Berlin and London.
The board also wants to promote Nepal by mobilising the country’s diplomatic missions abroad, and non-resident Nepalis spread around the world. It also wants to collaborate with airlines that fly to Nepal.
The NTB says it will also go to India and China to promote Nepal as a tourist destination and partner with the private sector to sell packages to the citizens of these two countries.
2. Heritage conservation
For heritage conservation, the board will spend around Rs 73 million. The money will also be used to hold fairs and festivals and improve regions that need improving for the long term.
3. Pokhara-focus acvities
The NTB’s Pokhara office has been allotted Rs 45 million, which it will spend on the development and promotion of heritage areas. Along with that, the NTB’s Pokhara office has said it will also use the funds to train people as well.
4. Human resource and office operations
The NTB has also set aside Rs 180 million on improving the working standards of its staff. The funds will also be used on office operations.
5. Branding rural tourism
The NTB has planned to start a recovery campaign to lift the tourism industry. The first initiative is changing the face of some tourist areas that are not yet recognised by creating a brand around them. The first place that this will happen so is Tokha of Kathmandu.
The NTB then wants to promote villages in Myagdi, Parbat, Baglung, Gulmi, Syangja, Tanahun, Kaski, Gorkha, Dhading, Arghakanchi, Nuwakot and Kavre as places for agro tourism.
There have also been talks of promoting the Chure region as a place for geo-tourism and the border between Nepal and India for religious tourism.
The NTB has decided that it will host travel marts across all provinces especially in Province 2 and Province 1. Talks are also underway to promote Province 1 as the hub of health tourism. The NTB has also been looking at promoting Sudurpaschim province as a farm-stay destination.
6. Honouring the mountain community
After all the years, the board has finally decided to honour people and organisations involved in mountain tourism. These people will be awarded medals and cash prizes for the work they have done in the mountaineering sector.
The NTB also says it will also honour the people who bring the most number of tourists to Nepal.
7. Rediscovering the hippy trail
The board is looking at rediscovering the hippy trail around the Kathmandu valley. The board believes this will be a good pull factor for tourists who came to Nepal in the 70s and 80s.
A budget is also being set aside for the research of the benefits of hot springs.
8. A tourist bus station in Kathmandu
Not having a tourist bus station in Kathmandu has been a problem for a while. While the roads in Jamal acted as a bus station for years, now, all the tourist busses can be found in Sorhakhutte.
After multiple complaints, the board is also looking at constructing a bus station in Kathmandu. A budget has already been set aside for this.