KATHMANDU, Sept 10: With an agreement to develop Kirtipur as the first city with a brand identity, Kirtipur Municipality and Nepal Tourism Board (NTB) will be jointly working toward branding of the town's historically important sites. They will also be helping to develop homestay capacity and provide guide training for the promotion of the area as a tourist destination.
The NTB and the municipality have decided to develop branding strategy and guidelines within six month from now.
Along with these activities, the NTB aims to promote Kirtipur as a tourist destination. "By the end of six months, we will develop a website 'visitkirtipur.com'. This will be linked with the NTB website. We will also develop a travel app for Kirtipur," said Shraddha Shrestha, brand development manager of NTB.
According to Saraswati Khadka, deputy mayor of Kirtipur Municipality, the homestays in the area have a collective capacity of 50 beds.
Though the known history of Kirtipur goes back to 1099 AD, the place is not popular among tourists compared to other historical places of the valley.
"Even the students who have studied at the Tribhuvan University that is located in Kirtipur don't have much idea about the historical importance of the place," said Khadka.
The municipality with significant population of Newar community has number of cultural heritages and natural attractions like Chilamchu Stupa, Bagh Bhairav Temple, Taudaha, Uma Maheshwar Temple and Champadevi hill.
"But despite these attractions, tourist flow is less here compared to other historical places of Kathmandu," said Khadka.
"Even those who go to Kirtipur don't stay there longer than two hours," said Shrestha. She said that the NTB and the municipality will develop a package 'Heritage by Night' within six months, to provide a full-fledged tour of Kirtipur.
According to Shrestha, the NTB will also organize an in-depth session related to historical facts and significance of the Kirtipur area for guides and tour operators.
"On the one hand, the homestays are not enough for the tourists and on the other, they are not well organized. Though many of them are registered, they lack proper hospitality services," added Shrestha. "This will be improved. We will also focus on providing hospitality and capacity building training for the locals."
The municipality has plans to open tourist information centers and other recreational areas by the end of the current Fiscal Year 2019/2020.
The NTB has allocated Rs 2,000,000 for the branding of Kirtipur Municipality. However, the municipality has not yet done an exact estimation of the total amount needed for the overall project.