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European tourists could be a booster to make Visit Nepal Year 2020 a success

Krishna Adhikari, KATHMANDU: An influx of tourists from European countries which accounts for a large number of tourists visiting Nepal could be a booster in making Visit Nepal Year 2020 a success, and for that, programmes targeting European tourists should be in place.
Air safety, quality hospitality, exploration of new tourist destinations and infrastructure development are some of measures that need to be focused on to attract as many as tourists.
Perception of tourists, who have already visited Nepal and roles of Nepali embassies in foreign countries and Non-Resident Nepali Association, plays a key role in attracting tourists to Nepal.
European tourists would be a main key in making the Visit Nepal Year 2020 a success, said representatives of Nepali missions in Europe, adding that many promotional programmes and activities have been launched and they would run throughout the year targeting the Visit Nepal Year.
Those tourists affording to spend enough money and wanting to prolong their stay and elderly tourists should be focused on while creating travel packages, suggested Nepal’s Ambassador to France Dipak Adhikari.
Publicity about Sylvain Levi, author of Hindu Kingdom, Maurice Herzog, the first European citizen to climb Annapurna Mountain, and Toni Hagen who explored many parts of Nepal and helped the country known to the world, would help a lot in this regard, he said, adding that the embassy has focused on launching promotional programmes in the country.
France has 60 to 70 Nepali restaurants and most of them lie in Paris. So it could help to attract French tourists to Nepal by informing them about Nepal, said Akendra Malla Thakuri, former president of NRNA, France.
In 2018, over 240,000 tourists from European countries visited Nepal, and the figure stands at around 105,000 in six months along this year.
Nepal’s ambassador to Belgium, Lok Bahadur Thapa says that the expected number of European tourists have not visited Nepal as tourism could not be marketed in a strategic manner in Europe so far despite Nepal talking about it for many years. “We have not tried to learn about the interests of the European tourists even up to now. No study has been done. If we could prepare the promotional strategy as per the tourists’ interests, many of European tourists will visit Nepal,” he said.
Stating that arguments such as the air fare from Europe to Nepal was expensive, that there was no direct flight to Nepal and that the country is involved in reconstruction after the devastation wrought by the Gorkha earthquake were not appropriate, ambassador Thapa said, ” The message that although the air fare is somewhat expensive, food and accommodation is cheaper in Nepal and the visitors could take connection flights even though no direct flights and that the earthquake has not affected the tourism sector, should be spread.”
Germany’s ambassador to Nepal, Roland Scheffer said the areas of cooperation between Nepal and Germany would be further expanded to support Nepal’s journey towards economic prosperity. He added that the German government and the people have been supporting Nepal in its development ever since the two countries established diplomatic relations.
German ambassador Scheffer said Nepal is one of the main destinations for the German tourists and there was possibility of large number of tourists visiting Nepal if the infrastructures, security and new heritages could be promoted and publicized.
Germany’s Consul General for Nepal, Ram Pratap Thapa said since various organizations based in Germany were interested to promote tourism in Nepal, cooperation could be increased in the coming days in this regard to inform them on this matter.
“Annually about 18 thousand German tourists visit Nepal at present and this number could be increased by two folds,” said Jeeva Lamichhane, former president of NRNA, adding that the NRNs living in more than 80 countries around the globe are motivated for the development of their motherland and stress has been laid on activities to encourage the tourists to visit Nepal through collaboration with the non-governmental organizations in those countries.
Nepalis have reached to almost all countries of Europe and most are operating restaurants. Since one gets the glimpse of ‘mini-Nepal’ in these restaurants, the distinct Nepaliness should be presented including in the cuisines offered there, NRNA International Women Coordinator Rajani Pradhan said. She suggested publicising about Nepal at these restaurants by distributing posters and pamphlets and by offering gifts of Nepali handicraft items to the visitors.
Rabindraman Shrestha, who is promoting Nepali products in Europe, said Nepal’s identity could be further enhanced if we could create a separate brand of Nepali products like momos, beer, instant noodles, selroti etc. RSS

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