Girija Prasad Koirala Foundation marked the 94th birth anniversary of Late GP Koirala by organizing a one-day symposium on "Connecting Nepal's Tourism/Culture Promotion to Asian Countries" in Kathmandu on 4th July 2017. Honorable Minister for Finance Mr. Gyanenedra Bahadur Karki was the chief guest of the program.
On March 18, 2017, to commemorate the 7th year of passing of legendary political leader GP Koirala, GP Koirala Foundation (GPKF) organized a one-day interaction program on the topic “Nepal-India Connectivity: Opportunities for Holistic Development”. The program was chaired by the chairperson of GPKF, Hon’ble Sujata Koirala. The chief guest of the program was senior leader of Nepali Congress, Ram Chandra Poudel. Charge D’Affairs of the Indian Embassy HE Vinaya Kumar, Professor of Jawaharlal Nehru University Dr. Sangeeta Thapaliya, Former Ambassador Dr. Suresh Chandra Chalise, Hon’ble Lalbabu Yadav, President of Nepal Council of World Affairs - Dr. Rajendra B Shrestha and CEO of National Reconstruction Authority - Dr. Govinda Pokhrel were guests at the program.
Girija Prasad Koirala Foundation marked the 94th birth anniversary of Late GP Koirala by organizing a one-day symposium on "Connecting Nepal's Tourism/Culture Promotion to Asian Countries" in Kathmandu on 4th July 2017. Honorable Minister for Finance Mr. Gyanenedra Bahadur Karki was the chief guest of the program. Secretary of the Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation Mr. Shankar Adhikari was a special guest of the program while Chief Executive Officer of Nepal Tourism Board Mr. Deepak Raj Joshi was another guest of the program. Veteran tourism entrepreneur Mr. Ang Chhering Sherpa also spoke at the program covering several aspects about prospects of tourism promotion of Nepal. The program was chaired by Hon’ble Sujata Koirala, President of the GPK Foundation and former Deputy Prime Minister and foreign minister.
While speaking on the occasion Hon'ble Sujata Koirala said that the time had come to consider seriously the economic development of the country as envisioned by Late GP Koirala who never compromised for the betterment of the country. GP Koirala held the election of the Constituent Assembly even among the reports that Nepali Congress would be losing the election of the Constituent Assembly. He had strong opinion that the nation should win even if Nepali Congress party would lose the elections. And, he did it. Ms. Koirala told that now we have constitution and local election are also being held. This has become possible due to the bold decision taken by GP Koirala. Therefore, we need to be serious to adopt the path of economic development as outlined by late GP Koirala and tourism can be the starting point for the economic development of the nation.
The guests and experts spoke on several aspects tourism and economic development. The following is the summary what they said:
Seven Hundred Fifty Three Thousand ( 7,53,000) tourists visited Nepal in the year 2016. However, this figure should be much higher considering the potentials of Nepal's tourism promotion and the need of the nation to promote tourism for the sake of poverty reduction, economic development, integration of people, knowledge sharing, natural and cultural conservation and after all, change in lifestyles of the people. Kathmandu was once considered as the Tourism Capital of South Asia. Now, this status is not maintained. Nepal's prospects of tourism promotion are in three dimensions namely nature, culture and adventure as Nepal is much diversified in geographical, ethnic and cultural areas. Nepal is a living museum. When one walks into Nepal, one walks into a living museum. There are some important and unique things that should be promoted in international market. First, there are more than 14 mountain peaks of over 8 thousand meters. Second, very few people know that Nepal is the gateway to mountains. Third, many people still don't know that Nepal is next door to New Delhi or India so that they cannot include Nepal into their travel itinerary while they visit India or New Delhi. We should be able to take benefit from the huge population in both side of our borders as India and China have going number of rich people. Fourth, there is huge possibility of spiritual tourism in Nepal considering the presence of Lumbini (Birth place of Lord Buddha) and Pashupatinath in Nepal.
There are two major parts of the promotion of tourism of Nepal. First is about infrastructure development. Second is about promotion of quality travel products. In most of marketing activities, products reach to the people. Tourism is such a sector where people should reach to the product. Therefore, private sector should be very smart in developing better and qualitative products. The product promotion should be supported by infrastructure development. The product promotion and infrastructure should go simultaneously. One cannot wait for another. We don't have sufficient airport and we don't have sufficient airliners, on both international and domestic fronts. We should build international airport in all federal units and major destinations like Morang, Kanchanpur, etc. We should also make quality hotel rooms in enough numbers . Tourism is not something like health and education so that it should be reached to every people. Rather, it is a business and it should be considered from business point of view. There must be a national vision for tourism. There is a document called National Tourism Strategic Action Plan mentioning everybody's role and responsibility for the promotion of tourism. However, this has hardly been implemented especially due to insufficient leadership at the policy level or it can be said insufficient continuity of policy implementation. Because, there have been 9 tourism ministers within 3 years, 6 secretaries and 6 Director Generals within three years. Among the tourists coming to Nepal, over 60 percent come from Asian countries especially from China and India . Therefore, our promotional activities should be focused on the place where the market is. Therefore, the effort to connect Nepal's tourism/cultural promotion to Asian countries is very timely and appropriate.