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Tourism In Nepal: A Historical Perspective and present trend of Development


Nepal is a landlocked country located in South Asia, in between China and India. With eight out of ten of the world’s highest mountain peaks (including Mt. Everest, the world’s tallest peak bordering Tibet), Nepal is a hotspot destination for rock climbers, mountaineers as well as people who seek other adventures. Its Hindu and Buddhist heritage alongside its cold weather also make it a strong tourist attraction. Nepal has been a monarchy for hundreds of years and was only declared a republic in the year 2008, June. Evolution of tourism goes back to the ancient times. In Nepal, even with its long history, tourism was developed only since the 1950s.

• A Historical Review of Ancient Nepal Tourism

Since time immemorial, tourists have visited Nepal in one form or another. The legend 5111Manjushree made the valley of Kathmandu habitable, letting the water flow within the valley. He is believed to have hailed from either China or India and is regarded as the first tourist to ever have visited Nepal. Also, over the historical era, some famous visitors are said to have visited Nepal. Gautama Buddha had visited Nepal over the Jitedasti reign, the seventh King of Kirat. King Ashok of ancient India also visited Lumbini, the birthplace of the Lord Buddha. A great leap in ancient Nepalese tourism occurred during the Lichchhavi Period, in 400 A.D. where there was realized a great progress in the country’s art and culture; architecture, sculptures and paintings. Many of Buddhism preachers also visited Nepal during this period.

Over the Malla period (750-1480 A.D.), a lot of foreign tourists were found to have visited Nepal. Many of these tourists were of Indian, Tibetan and Chinese origin with their main motive of visiting Nepal being commercial and religious. Thus, it was duly noted that the commercial and religious sectors significantly contributed to Nepalese tourism development.

• Tourism after 1950

After Nepal gained its state of democracy in 1950, they started developing different aspects of social, economic and political issues. Since this time, the Nepalese doors have been open to foreign tourists desiring to visit this country with a bid to develop their tourism sector. It is worth noting that tourism in Nepal began with mountain tourism. 1950s can be regarded as the most important period in development of tourism here in Nepal. It is during this time that 14 of the world’s famous tallest peaks in Nepal were successfully scaled. Just but to name a few, these included: Mt. Everest, Mt. Makalu, Mt. Annapurna, and Mt. Cho Oyu, among others scaled by 1960. Until the 1950s there was no plan and / or no policy with regard to tourism in Nepal.

• The first draft tourism plan

“The General Plan for the Organization of Tourism of Nepal” was prepared by a Frenchman, George Lebrec back in 1959. In 1962, the Nepal Tourism Department started keeping statistics of foreign tourists in to Nepal. It established information centers in various Airports. The Nepal Tourism Development Committee was founded in 1969 mandated with formulation of the Tourist Policy and drawing of a long term plan for the sector. The Committee is comprised of a Royal Family member, players in the hotel and travel industry alongside members representing important executive committees. 1972 saw the establishment of the Hotel and Tourism Training Centre with joint effort of ILO and UNDP to produce a trained workforce in the tourism sector. Public-Private partnership in 1998 saw the birth of the Nepal Tourism Board.

The Tourism Department was dissolved in 1999 and its mandate given to the Ministry of Tourism and the Nepal Tourism Board which together formulated a new Tourism Policy in 2008 to replace the 1995 policy. The Policy was aimed at increasing tourist numbers to the 1 millionth mark by 2011 to mark Nepal’s Tourism Year. However, only 735,932 tourists were recorded to have visited Nepal in 2011.

• The Present Trend of Development in Tourism in Nepal

There has been sound growth in Nepal’s tourism industry over the past 5 decades recording over 90% growth from 6,000 tourists in 1962 to over 600,000 tourists in the year 2010. According to statistics of 2012, there is slow growth rate of 9.8%. The number of tourists increased by 21.4% in 2011, Nepal Tourism Year. According to Nepal Tourism Board’s statistics, 598,204 foreign tourists entered the country by air 2012. The tourism industry is viewed as a way to eradicate poverty and achieve social equity in the country. The Nepalese government also declared Lumbini Tourism Year in 2012 to promote tourism in Lumbini, the birthplace of Lord Buddha. In 2012, 55.9% of the foreign tourists came from Asia (18.2% being from India), while Western European countries accounted for 27.5% while 7.6% came from North America, 3.2% from the Pacific Region and Australia, 2.6% coming from Eastern Europe, 1.5% from South & Central America, 0.3% from Africa and 1.4% from other nations. Foreign tourists who visited Nepal in 2012 averaged of 11.78 days of stay.

The trend of visiting tourists seems satisfactory. However, there would need to be an increase in allocation and appropriation of unexplored resources in this top foreign exchange earner in Nepal for it to realize even higher benefits. The improved gain in the socio-economic sector of Nepal can be realized by creating an implementation of a dynamic as well as tourism-friendly policy with joint effort of the government and private sector. Apply for your Sri Lanka Visa online to enjoy your trip memorably.

Ruby Andrew’s author bio :: Ruby Andrew lives in Bristol, UK and is an avid reader and blogger. Since her early years she’s had a passion for writing. Her articles have been published in leading UK newspapers. Her areas of interest are food, reviews (Book/Movie), Travel, Fashion, and Lifestyle. She works as a guest blogger on her chosen areas of interest and currently writes on behalf of Sri Lanka Visa.

For Indian tourists travelling by land:- 72 hours (-ve) C-19 report, CCMC form and Antigen Test at entry point

For Indian tourists travelling by land:- 72 hours (-ve) C-19 report, CCMC form and Antigen Test at entry point

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