POKHARA, June 23: Gandaki Province has been preparing to develop 44 places of the province as major tourism destinations. The provincial government has allocated Rs 170.60 million for the purpose.
The provincial government has planned to take four destinations each from the 11 districts under the province.
However, tourism entrepreneurs doubt that if equal number of destinations is allocated for each district, the weaker destinations might get more funds and stronger ones might get less than they deserve. They have suggested allocating funds according to the importance of the destination.
Earlier the government had identified 10 destinations from each district. It has now reduced the number considering feasibility of the destinations. The government has plans to improve infrastructure of these destinations.
“While developing infrastructure in the destination, the particular regions will also grow,” said Bishnu Prasad Bhandari, secretary at the Ministry of Tourism, Gandaki Province. According to him, the destinations will be developed and promoted in coordination with local level bodies and the ministry.
“We have not decided on the kind of infrastructure we will be building,” added Bhandari. “This will be decided along with the finalization of work procedure.”
Gandaki Province had allocated a budget of Rs 32.13 billion, out of which Rs 670.60 million has been separated for the tourism sector. From that, Rs170.60 million has been allocated for the 44 destinations.
“Investment will not be done in the areas in which infrastructure has not been developed,” Bhandari added. “There are areas which are very attractive; however, many tourists don’t come there because of lack of infrastructure.”
Tourism entrepreneurs said that building infrastructures was essential, however, they said that distributing equal funds to each area will not effective.
“In many districts, there might not places suitable for tourism destination. The government, instead of investing in all the places, should give priority to the important destinations,” said Chiranjivi Pokharel, president of Pokhara Tourism Council (PTC).
“It will not be a good idea to invest in areas that have less potential,” Pokharel said, adding: “If this is done, the infrastructure in highly potential area will not be completed.” Making a plan for developing doesn’t mean distributing funds everywhere, Pokharel said.
He suggested investing according to the significance of the destination. He said that the plan should not be like distributing grants of Rs one million to homestays. “The provincial government makes decisions without understanding the challenges of the tourism sector,” he said. “It is not good to establish destination without researching and identifying its possibilities.”