Nepalese tourism is growing because of attractions such as casinos, adventure sports like Everest skydiving and mountain biking in Nepal’s mountains, as well as international film and drama festivals. In October 2008, 50,567 tourists visited Nepal. Tourism Year 2011 has begun with a slogan “Together for Tourism.” This announcement anticipates at least one million international tourists in Nepal in the year 2011.
During the first meeting of the Constituent Assembly, on May 28, 2008, the nation decided to celebrate Tourism Year in 2011. It was proposed by Tourism Minister Mrs. Hishila Yami. Hence, Dr. Ram Baran Yadav, our national president, officially launched this government initiative at the Dasarath stadium in the capital amidst a grand celebration on 14 January 2011.
The major objectives for 2011 include:
- establish Nepal as a choice of holiday destination with a clear brand image.
- improve and extend tourism related infrastructures in existing and new tourism sites.
- enhance the capacity of service providers.
- build community capacity in the new areas to cater to the needs of the tourists.
- promote domestic tourism for sustainability of industry.
Strategies prepared by the government to make the tourism year successful are:
- focusing marketing and promotion activities on regional and emerging markets,
- exploration of new tourism market segments,
- highlighting the tourism brand: "Naturally Nepal; Once is not enough!",
- enhancement of air connectivity,
- Lobbying with the government for budget allocation to improve and expand tourism related activities infrastructures,
- attract and encourage private sector for investment in tourism,
- capacity building of human resources involved in tourism,
- lobbying with the government for intervention in domestic tourism development e.g., Amendment in the Transportation Act.
- promotion of domestic tourism by endorsing Leave Travel Concession (LTC) by the government,
- organize major sports events in association with tourism associations and stakeholders throughout the NTY 2011 (at least one event per month),
Considering the magnitude of the campaign, the Government of Nepal formed the Main Organising Committee under the convenership of Hon’ble Minister for Tourism and Civil Aviation. The Committee consists of Vice Chairman of National Planning Commission as the Joint Convener and Secretaries of line Ministries; Chief of Metropolitan, Sub-Metropolitan cities and Municipalities; presidents of trade, travel trade and other related associations and institutions are nominated as Members. Chief Executive Officer of Nepal Tourism Board has been designated as the Member-Secretary of the Committee.
The government declared a holiday in academic institutions in the valley on 14 January 2011 to celebrate Nepal Tourism Year.
Thousands, including top officials attended the inauguration ceremony which began at 11:30 a.m. at the Dasharath Stadium on 14 January 2011. The official programme ended at 3 p.m. 
According to Nepal Tourism Board, more than 20,000 guests and delegates graced the event that also marked an air show of motor paragliding by 21 pilots.
Nepal tourism year 2011 was recently launched with the motive to bring about 1 Million Tourists to Nepal in the year 2011. It’s a three year program launched with the purpose of this program is to promote the tourism sector of Nepal internationally highlighting the Nepalese art, culture, bio-diversity and stakeholder business through E-marketing globally are other vital objectives of this project. Its viability lies within the marketing options and efforts that are available where the Nepal Tourism Board (NTB), the Ministry of Tourism and Civil Aviation (MoTCA) and the private sectors need to coordinates in an effectively and efficiently.
Opportunities of NTY 2011:
- Development of rural areas
- Development of infrastructure(Proper roads, electricity, water supply, hospitals, communication etc)
- Development of economic status of people
- Opportunity of Proper research and development of tourism product
- Increases employment opportunities
- Increases the chance of better investment options and opportunities
Challenges of NTY 2011
- Lack of international Airport
- Growing Cut throat competition
- Lack of proper infrastructure and resources
- Lack of qualitative human resource
- Destination getting expensive due to service charge and VAT
- Lack of proper Training centers
- Lack proper monitoring mechanism for tourism field and tourists
- Increase of online fraud cases
- Risk of sex tourism and prostitution
- Political instability and chaos making the destination unpopular
How to tackle the problem?
1. As the market is growing and competition is also taking its toll. Tourism is the most sustainable business which runs on local resources and facilities where the possibilities of development and growth are immense. With the advent of technology and cyber space the world has become a smaller place where people very interested and willing to know about what’s happening around the world. Nepal is in currently going through a transitional phase and with the mal practice of political activities like protest and agitation, the image of Nepal is getting ruined. And due to the unstable condition a lot of countries have banned and restricted their citizens from travelling to Nepal which need to be countered. Most of the times situation are exaggerated so there should be firm mechanism to deal with the problem from Nepal’s side.
2. Apart from that the lack of government monitoring has resulted in a vacuum where every day tourists are being exploited physically, sexually and mentally in different parts of the tourist hubs. We need strong mechanism to tackle this problem as only a limited handful numbers of tourist police personnel cannot handle the situation. A good mechanism should be created to tackle the problem where every tourists coming in Nepal should feel safe and sound.
3. Lack of effective web marketing tools, the NTB is still limited in marketing the NTY2011 program with orthodox marketing techniques of travel fairs promotion and limited web profile system which need to be adapted with a more dynamic marketing tools like Search engine optimization, aggressive social network marketing, effective documentaries and previews in international travel channels, etc
4. Though we have declared the NTY 2011 and its target now what’s important is their management and handling. We need to think about their accommodations and services as specially in the peak season when there are very limited no of tourists all tourism hub are seen tight, on contrary here we are talking about 1 million tourist thought as a whole 1 million won’t come but the target is completely double the normal range so double the accommodation need to be managed where the policy maker seemed silent. This area needs to be properly identified and worked on.
By Shreedeep Rayamajhi