What to do for VNY 2020? Rudra P. Adhikari

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We have all welcomed the English New Year 2020. As we are going to celebrate the upcoming year as a Visit Nepal Year, we are happier & hopeful at the same time. The government, especially Ministry of Culture, Tourism & Civil Aviation is working hard to make the VNY 2020 successful. In addition, Nepal Tourism Board, Hotel Association of Nepal, Trekking Agencies Association of Nepal and other tourism related organizations are also working for the same;

WHAT SHOULD WE DO FOR VNY 2020?
We have all welcomed the English New Year 2020. As we are going to celebrate the upcoming year as a Visit Nepal Year, we are happier & hopeful at the same time. The government, especially Ministry of Culture, Tourism & Civil Aviation is working hard to make the VNY 2020 successful. In addition, Nepal Tourism Board, Hotel Association of Nepal, Trekking Agencies Association of Nepal and other tourism related organizations are also working for the same;
to make it a grand success.
To make VNY a grand event, preparation from government side only is not enough and it should be done from citizens’ side as well. Government has a target to bring more than two million tourists from abroad this year. Now, question may arise “Are we ready to serve that number of foreign tourists? Can we me make their Nepal Visit comfortable, joyful & memorable? Are our infrastructures ready? Or, capable to provide efficient services?” So, what should we do? We have a lot of things to do. Some of the things we can do for making VNY 2020 a successful event are as follows:
Publicity
The first thing we should do is to promote Nepal as a suitable destination to visit in the international market. For this we have to make posters, pamphlets, stickers, booklets, brochures, T-shirts etc for the promotional work. We can write articles for international journals & magazines. We can make audio-visual and similar multi-media materials and post in social sites. Social sites’ has tag campaigns like #VisitNepal2020 #VNY2020 #VisitNepal are also being effective nowadays. Visitors should be pre-informed about the destination including the attractions & facilities available there. Publicity should not be limited within a country it should be done worldwide and through international media like BBC, CNN etc
Infrastructure Development
At present TIA is bringing less than 4800 tourists a day from around 40 international airlines. To meet the target of bringing 2M tourists, we need to bring more than 5500 tourists a day. Though Pokhara International Airport is under construction, Bhairahawa International Airport may come into operation if efforts were made earlier. Next, improvement in TIA and other domestic airports throughout the country should be done. Besides, construction of road and bridges for remote destinations, construction of health centres, public toilets and public drinking water taps also should be done. As our historical and cultural heritage sites had been destructed due to devastating earthquake of 2014, re-construction of such monuments, temples and monastries should be done as soon as possible.
Enhancing Capacity
Existing hotels and restaurants may not be enough to serve the targeted number of tourists. So, the capacity of hotels & restaurants should be increased. As the density of tourists would be higher in Kathmandu, Pokhara and Chitwan, it would be better if tourists are informed about newer destinations. Not only hotels and restaurants, we have to strengthen the capacity of homestays also. The tourists should be encouraged to visit homestays and get the local experience and taste. Next, we should provide trainings and orientation to those involved in the travel and tourism sectors, hotel and restaurant owners, homestay owners etc.
Cultural Programs
Nepal being a multi-ethnic, multi-lingual, multi-cultural country, it has been a plus point to attract more tourists . The tourists can observe and enjoy multi-cultural environment within a small geographical territory though. Cultural programs displayed on specified dates are not enough; we should organize frequent cultural programs for the tourists. It should be done every day or in a short regular intervals to satisfy their thirst for typical Nepali culture and dance forms. Local culture, language and costume should be promoted. Local and national level cultural festivals, shows and competitions should be organized.
Sanitation Programs
Tourists from around the world visit Nepal to enjoy the natural beauty as well as historical heritages. To preserve such heritages from being deteriorating, the Government should look into the proper repair works. Also regular sanitation programs should be conducted. Cleanliness campaign of himalayan base camps, foot trials, historical sites, palaces, temples, riverside, ponds and lakes should be done. We should keep trash collecting containers in every nook and crany of cities and in the trekking routes of the remote areas. We should keep the environment clean and green. More and more gardens parks should be built in the cities. People should be awared to keep environment clean, tidy and attractive.

International Programs & High Level Visits
We should try to organize international level conference, seminars and festivals in our country as far as possible. We can organize international level sports and adventerous tournaments as well. Next thing we should focus on – is to make more and more high profile visits to Nepal for which the government should take initiation for the same. This would in turn put Nepal into priority of international media for news coverage. Thus this will help to promote Nepal’s tourism.
Apart from above mentioned tasks, it is better to provide additional holidays to employees & civil servants, as well as private sector without hampering regular service delivery. This will increase the movement of the people and make the economy dynamic with domestic tourism. Activities to promote local products including agricultural, art and handicraft products should be given priority. Government should arrange reliable security mechanism for the safety of tourists. Any kind of misbehaviour towards the guests should be strictly controlled. Help desk, toll free number and 24 hour hotline services should be arranged for the tourists. Problem of dual price should also be solved.
Next thing we can do is to develop a Mobile app containing all informations about tourist destinations, available facilities including the information of hotel & restaurants, homestays, health centres, police units etc. Discount and offers in air fare, hotel & restaurant booking, adventurous activities should be also made to attract tourists. Also, we should disseminate information about our social values and norms, ethical & legal issues, rules, regulations and provisions to tourists.
Though VNY 2020 is a one-year program and it’s impressions would remain for many years to come. So, whatever we do for VNY 2020, our objective should be focussed in bringing more number of tourists to Nepal and allow them with a lifetime experience.