UNWTO secretary general to attend Nepal Tourism Year 2011 launch


The secretary general of the UN World Tourism Organization, seven SAARC tourism ministers and the secretary of the Cambodian Tourism Ministry have confirmed that they will be attending the inauguration of Nepal Tourism Year. NTY 2011 is scheduled to be launched on Jan. 14 at Dasrath Stadium in Kathmandu at 11 a.m.

Tourism ministers from China and Japan have expressed interest to participate in the function, but they have not confirmed, said Nepal Tourism Board spokesperson Aditya Baral. The government has invited the tourism ministers of 24 Asian countries to the inaugural to strengthen bilateral ties and promote tourism in the region.

SAARC tourism secretaries are scheduled to arrive on Jan. 11. There will be an extensive joint secretary level meeting of the SAARC Tourism Working Committee from Jan. 12-13 where discussions will focus on the problems and barriers confronting tourism promotion.

On Jan. 13, the SAARC ministers will endorse the meeting’s declaration. On Jan. 14, NTY 2011 will be inaugurated amid a gala function.

“We are inviting President Ram Baran Yadav to inaugurate the ceremony at Dasrath Stadium,” Baral said. According to the NTB, over 28,000 people are expected to participate in the three-hour-long event. The SAARC inter-government body will discuss the possibility of joint marketing, softening the visa regime, giving access to cross-border driving licenses, making Indian currency more flexible and increasing inter-SAARC movement by air by the national flag carrier of each country, a government official said.

The NTB has proposed giving a public holiday to government staff on the day. The NTB said that all the districts would organize the NTY 2011 launching programme under the coordination of their respective chief district officers. Similarly, tourist destinations like Pokhara and Chitwan, among other places, are aggressively preparing for their own special functions.

According to the Tourism Ministry, Nepal received more than 500,000 tourists in 2009 and the numbers is expected to cross 700,000 in 2010. After a gap of almost 12-years since Nepal celebrated the Visit Nepal 1998, the country tourism sector is expected to revive with promising tourist arrivals in 2010.

The then Maoist-led government had announced the campaign in October 2008. The campaign goal of hosting one million visitors intensifies the prospect to opening up new opportunities for reinvestment and reinvigorated business paralyzed for a long time.