POKHARA, Sept 21: The promotional campaign for Internal Tourism Year 2019 has just begun in the Gandaki Province, when just over three months remain before the year ends.
The provincial government had announced 2019 as Internal Tourism Year with a target to bring 1.5 million tourists.
Tourism entrepreneurs say that the government's late promotional campaign is not going to have any impact. According to them, the provincial government has been unsuccessful and missed its own target.
Organizing a press meet Thursday, the provincial government said that it will be taking promotional campaigns to different parts of the country from September 26 to October 3. Tourism Minister of the province Bikas Lamsal said that the government has started promotional activities to create a positive environment for tourism.
"We are not going to start the campaign just for the sake of show-off," said Lamsal. "Till now we were preparing for the campaign. This provincial level campaign will help make the Visit Nepal Year 2020 successful."
The provincial government has set campaigns of attracting neighboring country's tourists, tourism infrastructure construction, and international tourism year for 2020, 2021 and 2022, respectively.
"We know that the promotional campaign is too late for 2019. However, this will have impact for the coming years," said Lamsal. "The current campaign will not only contribute to 2019 but will help in all activities until 2022."
Lamsal said that the promotional campaign will be organized in Manigram of Province 5, Birgunj of Province 2, Biratnagar of Province 1, and Kathmandu of Province 3.
"The campaign will include discussions between provincial governments and entrepreneurs," said Lamsal. He also said that the provincial government will organize photo exhibitions, press meets, and cultural programs. He said that the campaign will also be organized in Tansen of Palpa, Amaltari of Nawalparasi, Bharatpur of Chitwan, Hetauda of Makwanpur, Janakpur of Dhanusha, Dharan of Sunsari, and Birtamode of Jhapa.
"Conversation about economic aspects of tourism and experience sharing will help in making the VNY successful," said Lamsal.
According to Lamsal, the government has been bringing discount packages in hotel, restaurant, adventure activities, transport and trekking sectors.
"We are trying to promote internal tourism. We will design various packages for 11 districts of different provinces," Lamsal said, adding that a budget of Rs 3.6 million will be spent for this campaign.
He said that the connectivity is very weak in Gandaki region. This is very challenging for us. “There is no improvement in the roadways,” said Lamsal. “To increase the number of internal tourists, we have plans to operate direct flights from Pokhara to Simra and Biratnagar,” said Lamsal.
Chiranjivi Pokharel, president of Pokhara Tourism Council (PTC), said the campaign was at least a positive initiative for upcoming years. “However, the provincial government has failed to meet its target,” said Pokharel.