Nepal will officially welcome the Visit Nepal Year 2020 in less than 60 days. The government has announced a goal to welcome at least two million tourists in the year 2020. However, much needs to be done to prepare for the celebration. Roads connecting major tourist hubs like Pokhara, Lumbini and Nagarkot are in pretty bad shape. Despite multiple media reports and requests from hotel entrepreneurs, the government is yet to spring into action. Travellers at Tribhuvan International Airport (TIA) complain of long queues, crowded and unmanaged immigration desks. The list of issues is long, and there is still time to clean up some of our sloppiness.
Nepal Tourism Board (NTB) is entrusted to run publicity and other VNY 2020 related projects, but its focus so far has been installing hoarding boards in our cities and cities abroad. Some Nepal visitors in London even complained of NTB using photos of Thai monks in the VNY2020 poster campaigns. NTB should obviously do more than just poster publicity.
The Oli government should ensure that basic transport and other facilities are safe, updated and clean. If Kathmandu can be cleaned up in just a few weeks for VVIP visits, we can take the next 60 days to really work on cleaning up the major cities and tourist destinations. The contractors who have been holding up road projects connecting tourist cities should be given a deadline to complete them. Failure to do so should result in massive penalty.
Celebrations like VNY2020 is also an opportunity to showcase our unique culture, tradition and history. The government should seize on this occasion to come up with programs to encourage using our arts, crafts and culture in everyday life. If we fail to market our uniqueness, we won't have much to attract foreigners in days and years to come.
We also urge media, people, businesses and everyone to be part of the VNY220 campaign. Our nation has always come together to celebrate our diversity. Tourists come to enjoy our kaleidoscopic culture, society and nature. Let us work together to make tourist's experience beautiful. After all, once is not enough!