KATHMANDU, Nepal – Followed by a decade of civil war, the Himalayan republic, Nepal, on Jan 14 kicked off its Tourism Year 2011 (NTY-2011) campaign to draw 1 million visitors and make tourism earnings to get rid of poverty and slow economic drive it had been facing for a long time.
It was the announcement made from President Ram Baran Yadav, the first president of Nepal, amid an extravaganza in the Dasharath Stadium in Kathmandu. The inauguration marked by air shows in the presence of tourism ministers from various Asian countries drew attention of over 25,000 spectators.
The yearlong campaign seeks to assure the world that Nepal is a safe destination, following the end of the Maoist insurgency, and boost tourism by promoting new destinations.
Nepal has a mission to bring large numbers of visitors from India and China, Nepal’s immediate neighbors. Target from these two emerging nation is 365,000, which accounts a whopping 30 percent of the total target. India has been targeted 265,000 while target from China is 100,000. Nepal received 25,000 visitors from China and above 100,000 visitors from India in 2010, according to annual tourist arrivals data of the Ministry of Tourism and Civil Aviation, Nepal.
Tourism entrepreneurs said that new trekking trails for adventure tourists as well as sports like paragliding, rafting, canyoning and homestay are the new products to lure tourists during 2011.
Similarly, for the pilgrim’s seekers, Lumbini, the birthplace of Buddha is another major attraction. A torch was relayed to the inauguration programme from Lumbini on Jan. 14, the sacred birthplace of the founder of Buddhsim, which is now a religious and monastic centre.
Nepal remains without a government since June, when Prime Minister Madhav Kumar Nepal was forced to resign by the Maoists, now the largest opposition party.
An unprecedented 16 rounds of vote failed to elect a new premier due to infighting among the major political parties and there is still no sign of any understanding.