KATHMANDU, Nov 13: Kathmandu recently hosted the Scaling Up Nutrition (SUN) Global Gathering. The four-day event held from November 4 to 7 brought together all SUN government focal points and representatives of their partners from civil society, donors, UN agencies, private sector partners, academia, media, parliamentarians and others for the cause of promoting nutritious food.
A three-day conference of mayors from various municipalities of Asia Pacific region was an equally big event hosted here recently. The International Seminar on Heritage and Sustainable Tourism organized by CityNet—an organization of municipalities in Asia Pacific region together with other stakeholders working in the field of sustainable urban development—brought together nearly 100 distinguished foreign delegates including mayors of various 14 municipalities from across the region in the first week of November.
Earlier, a high-level event of International Conference on Population Development (ICPD) was held in Kathmandu. In the two-day event held from October 20 to 21, the executive director of UNFA had arrived in Kathmandu. The fact that Kathmandu was chosen as the venue for this high-level event in itself is a good news for Nepal.
While these serve as a reminder of some of the major events that took place in Kathmandu in the recent past, a major global event of International Rangers Federation is being held in Chitwan from Tuesday. The seven-day event is a triennial event to be hosted in Asia for the first time in which rangers from all over the world have arrived in Nepal.
In yet another event, an Honorary Consul Corps-Nepal (HCC-N) and World Federation of Consuls Conference 2019 is set to kick off in Kathmandu from Wednesday. The event, according to the organizers, is bringing honorary consuls from more than 100 countries.
These conferences raises one question: Is Nepal growing as a major conference hub in the region?
Tourism experts agree that Nepal in recent years has been able to draw attention of foreigners for conference and other important meetings. “Yes, there has been a significant increase in attraction toward Nepal for organizing conferences. A large number of conferences of various professional organizations have been taking place in Kathmandu and other major cities in Nepal,” said First Vice President of Hotel Association of Nepal (HAN) Binayak Shah.
Shah said that there is a huge possibility to develop Nepal as a hub for conference due to various reasons such as pleasant weather, friendly people, cheaper cost, visa on arrival for most of the foreigners and safety of visiting guests.
“In fact, we have not made any aggressive marketing for MICE products as we do not have conference halls that can accommodate more than 1,000 guests at a time,” he said.
Some tourism entrepreneurs argue that the publicity Nepal has made for the upcoming Visit 2020 Year has also some bearings in the increased frequency of international conferences in Nepal. The publicity that various famous tourism related websites and global media have given for Nepal as a must-visit place has also increased attraction towards Nepal, they say.
Although there is a prospect of further promoting Meetings, Incentives, Conferences and Exhibitions (MICE) tourism, entrepreneurs complain that lack of proper infrastructures including good road and air connectivity and other facilities have seriously impeded the growth of tourism sector.
“It is high time all concerned provincial governments identify potential tourist destinations in their region and give high priority in developing necessary infrastructures,” Shah further said.