Nepal: Promoting Domestic Internal Tourism For Economic Development And Prosperity

Tourism should be developed as a large multi beneficial industry It needs to target millions of domestic and international tourists from support of government and concerned private bodies It will highly promote large level youth employment and growth of economy.

Jan. 26, 2024, 12:12 p.m.

According to Nepal Tourism Board, 10,14,876 International tourists visited Nepal in 2023 by air routes. Also 96,568 foreign travellers arrived to Nepal in the month of December 2023. The Top Ten Countries on December, 2023 from where most tourists came are from India 32,692 China 7370,, United States, 7027 Bangladesh, 5206 Thailand,4534 United Kingdom, 4267 Australia, 3834 Myanmar, 2533 South Korea 2363 and Japan 2339 .

With this achievement, the government has successfully met its target of drawing one million foreign tourists in 2023. The goal was outlined in the budget for the current fiscal year, focusing the intent to boost the foreign visitors

During Dasain-Tihar festival seasons, which are considered a good time to visit movement of domestic internal tourists were significant. It is estimated that around 3 million people visit Nepal annually as domestic tourists. Even if the government and tourism professionals do not have a reliable data, statistics and record those who travel internally within the country as tourists. It is estimated that there are more than one million foreign tourists annually come in Nepal, and domestic tourists are almost 3 times higher. From Ilam in the east to Khaptad in the far west and from Pokhara to Mustang across the Himalayas to Chitwan, Lumbini, Janakpur in the Terai, domestic tourists were fully occupied. Nepali tourists in hotels have confirmed that they have developed the ability to spend to the trend of traveling during holidays and leisure time. 10 to 15 percent of bookings in tourist hotels are made by domestic tourists. Hotel Businesses say that in some hotels, up to 30 percent occupancies are domestic tourists. Nepali nationals have recently started reaching new destinations to experience new places and cultures. They also spend money on local markets for foods, cloths, travel expenses and other goods and services, which will support local economy and employment. This has excited the tourism industry. It will also help local farmers to sell their fruits/ vegetables, shops to sell their goods hence support their local livelihood. In that ways Nepali handicrafts, clothes and other goods can be sold and promoted. Also, all levels of the government have been making a commitment to promote national visitors. but they need to make a clear policy and procedure. The domestic tourists suggest that infrastructure development like proper roads, traffic, controlling air pollution from vehicles, should be high priority. Although the culture of traveling is developing at larger scales,, the government need to create more tourist-friendly environment. Along with this, if the spending capacity of Nepalese can be increased, it seems that domestic tourists can flourish even more. Tony Hagen, UN representative in 1950, visited Nepal for many years and wrote a book Nepal-The Kingdom in the Himalayas, published in 1971, explained in depth on Nepali people's life, caste, language, sacred holy religion and geography etc His book helped a great deal to know about Nepal and it expansion and promotion of tourism in broad global international levels. Likewise, on May 29, 1953, Tenzing Norgay Sherpa and Edmund Hillary successfully climbed the highest peak, Mt Everest. After that, it seems that interest in Nepal has started to increase in the international community on its efforts for tourism development. Nepal celebrated Nepal Visit Year in 1998.and Tourism Year in 2011. When the final preparations were being made to celebrate the Visit Nepal 2020 with the aim of bringing in two million tourists, an unprecedented crisis arose in the development of Nepal's tourism sector after the Corona epidemic created global disaster and havoc. Tourism potential in Nepal is very high because of it is very prosperous in nature, culture, ancient religion, geographic location, biology, peaceful meditation and spirituality purposes. It is a very famous and rich country for nature and wild adventure tourism. Some of the major unique and fascinating features of Nepal are listed here. it has beautiful creations and breathtaking landscapes, hills, mountains, plain fertile farm lands, valleys, snow-capped world highest himalaya/mountain ranges, waterfalls, green dense forests, gorgeous rivers and lakes, jungle wildlife safari, rural natural village life, hiking trail, trekking, mountain/rock climbing, river rafting, paragliding, bungee jumping, birds watching, mountain and Himalaya sightseeing helicopter/ airplane flights for himalaya/ mountain sightseeing, boating, spirituality, yoga, ayurveda, meditation, distinct medical herbs which are only found here, the sense of hospitality among the people, delicious taste of Nepali food and cuisine, sacred holy religion, cultures ancient temples, great diversity, ethnicities, costumes, art, music, and many more. Nepali local drinks(Raksi), chyang, tumba, and such others etc. It is multi-ethnic multilingual, multi-religious and social diversity and rich in historical and cultural heritage, It is a rare place for wild and adventure tourism destination on the world tourism map. It is a nation of peace, harmony, meditation and spirituality as Gautam Budhha was born here in Lumbini.

We also like to travel different important destinations of natural, religious, cultural importance mostly in Nepal. For that reasons, we frequently visit places in Nepal with our family. It could be called domestic family internal national tourism members of our tourist group are Nishesh Dhungana, Shreejana Timilsina, Daman Nath Dhungana, Bhuwan Dhungana, Shiba Timilsina, Prem Bahadur Singh, Bindu Singh Nitika Dhungana, Narayan Wagle, Nimesh Dhungana Asha Singh, Nasana Wagle, Bodhita and Vedhani (Buki) Singh Dhungana, Rajan Dhungana, Bijaya Dhungana, Shirish Singh and Dikshya Chand Singh, Shila Singh Shah, Ravi Shah Sanu Maharjan, Krishna Dhungana and some others. The places we visit around Kathmandu valley are Pashupati Area, Guheswori, Bhandarkhal,jungle Ram Mandir, Battisputali, ,Shivapuri, Budhanilkantha,, Basantapur Durbar Square, Hanuman Dhoka, New Road, Kapan Monastry, Durbar Squares, Baudha, Godavari, Chandragiri, Namobuddha, Sankhu, Swayambhu, Kirtipur, Chovar, Adinath Temple, Kakani, Nagarjung, etc. We also travel far a places like Pokhara, Chitwan, Saurah, Devghat,Lumbini, Mankamana,,Muktinath, Pachkhal, Hetauda, Dumja- Kuseswore, Sindhuli Dupcheswore Mahadev, ,Chitlang, Kulekhani Sailung, Kalinchowk Charikot Bhimeswore, Bandipur, Halesi Mahadev, Mahendranagar etc. These areas are very beautiful, amazing and fascinating for lifetime memories and experiences. During these tours mostly elderly and children need to be taken care properly of the foods, climate, environment and other health conditions and possible travel hazards. They tend to enjoy more too.The motor vehicle should be maintained and serviced well with adequate fuel before the journey. The driver should be experienced and responsible for driving well in all sorts of road and traffic conditions. All need to strictly follow safety and security measures and need to be careful to prevent any possible disasters All other essential precautions of health and weather should be carefully taken care. Some family and friends are also tourists and visitors who come from foreign countries, UK, USA, Australia etc. They can be considered both Nepali national and foreign tourists. All of them have very good command in English and very excited to visit such places.

Government institution like NATHM and Private Parties both need to expand more courses of tourism, hotel management, hospitality etc Tourism Professional Workers, Travel/ Tour Agencies, Travel/ Tour Guides, Airlines Companies and all related bodies need to bring new attractive and affordable tour/ travel packages to attract large tourists., They need to work together, make plans and implement to boost tourism related issues. There need to be more educated, experienced and professional tourist/ trekking, mountain guides thus more young Nepali need to be trained for better opportunity. The studies of culture, history, geography, language, religion, arts, nature, classical and folk music, etc should be introduced more to all level of education short and long terms Other practical and employment/ income generating skills like cooking, waiter, bartender etc should also be provided more. Those courses should tend to be more focused on tourism, employment, economy and income generations for daily life, living and support their family. The practical trainings, technical, professional and work related courses should be more taught in Nepal for better life. The foreign students exchange programs targeting students from foreign countries to study in Nepal should also be highly promoted from government and private universities Nepali students also can enroll in foreign institutions for those reasons as well. Nepalese can speak and understand English and Hindi language good enough for travelers who visit here.

We stay and eat in normal range restaurants where costs are affordable to all. We do not spend money randomly but in very reasonable for essential foods and needs. We are really very conscious on spending money and other expenditures. We tend to eat healthy food for good health and physical wellbeing We like to walk in no pollution, clean, green, forests and hills to get fresh air/oxygen and environment for good physical fitness and healthy life. Sometimes we even make food in home pack carry and serve and eat in those places like in Picnic. Short one or few days hiking trail, trekking, city sightseeing, home stay, adventurous village rural tours, city walks around Kathmandu, Lalitpur, Bhaktapur valley areas are also reasonable and beneficial. Also some other enjoyable, and pleasurable activities we do are watch movie (Nepali or Hindi) in cinema hall, drama in theatre with all family, visit museum, national zoo, shopping/ marketing clothes and other essential goods, cultural programs, watching/ listening Nepali folk and classical songs, music and dance

Nepal's major areas of economic development are hydropower and tourism. Tourism could be beneficial and fruitful if the government bring proper and attractive packages and tour plans for people of different countries and if it assures tourists of political stability If it made proper airfare deals, infrastructures, effective services like lodges, hotels, resorts, home stays and foods which will lead private tours and tourism sectors would boom as well.

Tourism should be developed as a large multi beneficial industry It needs to target millions of domestic and international tourists from support of government and concerned private bodies It will highly promote large level youth employment and growth of economy. There are prospects for tourism industry in Nepal. Millions of visitors from the largest and world's most populated countries will come to Nepal if proper air and road transportation and other necessary services are made and proper accommodation and guidance are provided to them. Indians, as the largest Hindu population, will come to Nepal as pilgrims to see another nation which has its Hindu traditions, cultures, temples, spirituals, medical herbs and historical linkages of gods. Thus having friendly and cordial relations with South Asian neighbor countries India, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Pakistan will definitely help Nepal in the development of its religious tourism. Making roads and traffic in good condition, free from air pollution. Making roads, public places, rivers clean and pollution free, strong legal actions like arrest and fines who try to dispose wastages and garbage in rivers. More greenery, parks and recreation places to city dwellers are necessary.

The other neighbor Chinese presence will be definitely high as the Buddha was -born in Nepal and they desire to visit Lumbini and other important Buddhist sites and travellers from East Asian countries Japan, Korea Southeast Asia, Myanmar, Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam, Laos Korea Indonesia, Philippines Malaysia etc will also be higher. But Nepal needs to focus on maintaining and regulating international airports on Bhairahawa and Pokhara and more should be operated and expanded more.. The air pollution from vehicles in Kathmandu and river water pollution should be controlled. Mostly The children and younger visitors are very curious and excited. They tend to spend more money on their travels will surely help in economy. Rural and remote village tourism are also very interesting and lifelong moment near Kathmandu like Nagarkot Bojini Dam and Changunarayan, Duttatraya temple areas and other big cities need to create more open spaces, natural parks, green and clean places playgrounds, fun and amusement parks for children and young and for adults to walk for healthy and energetic life styles changes.

(Dhungana is Advocate/ Lawyer LLB( Law) TU, Nepal MA International Relations( JNU), India)

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