Tourism Excellency Award to be held in September, Tourism Investment Summit in 1st quarter of 2020
KATHMANDU, July 21: Though players in the tourism sector are disappointed with the cancellation of International Indian Film Academy (IIFA) awards, they are optimistic about creating other opportunities for tourism promotion in the country.
Despite much controversy and criticism about the IIFA awards, many in tourism fraternity had been referring the IIFA awards as a missed opportunity to bring more tourists in Nepal.
Suraj Vaidya, business leader and national coordinator of Visit Nepal Year 2020 campaign (VNY), said that had the IIFA event been held, Nepal would have got ample opportunities to host other international events afterwards. "However, this has not affected our target for VNY. We are planning to organize other events including Tourism Investment Summit in the first quarter of 2020 in collaboration with the World Bank," Vaidya said. "Similarly, as we have not awarded the contributors in the tourism sector till now, we will be organizing Tourism Excellency Award this September."
"Nepal will be organizing various international art and music festivals in 2019 and 2020," Vaidya added.
Despite their rich cultural heritage, many destinations in the country are unexplored, Vaidya further said, adding that the VNY secretariat, in collaboration with various entities, was working toward identifying and maintaining the heritages situated in every corner of the country.
"We are also in a campaign to educate youths about importance of heritage conservation," he said.
Besides, the country is also planning to host climate change conference every two years. "For this, we need to work at the policy level. This will also be a significant measure to bring international community in Nepal," he said.
Targeting VNY, government has been saying that the Tribhuvan International Airport will be transformed into a boutique airport. On this, Vaidya said: "Even if not a boutique airport, it is the first place where tourists analyze the country. Elements which reflect the culture of the country should be placed in most areas of airport. We are working toward that," he said.
Another significant development which has begun for city beautification is tree plantation in the Kathmandu Valley. "We have targetted to plant 200,000 trees in Kathmandu. We have already started that," he said.
Tourism entrepreneurs say that though infrastructure is a concern for everyone, Nepal must also focus on showcasing its hidden destinations.
"Infrastructure development has to go along with tourism promotion," said Amar Bahadur Shahi, general secretary of Nepal Association of Tour Operators (NATO). He said that Nepali citizens working in various sectors have to use their networks and public relation to bring in tourists.
"Traders, entrepreneurs, business leaders, and Nepal's diplomats must use their networks,” he said. He stressed on the significance of media in conveying information about arrival of international dignitaries and business leaders.
"Media participation in all kinds of international events should be encouraged," he said.
CN Pandey, president of Nepal Association of Tour and Travel Agents (NATTA), suggested making promotional videos on VNY 2020 and broadcasting it through popular international media including BBC and CNN.
"We also need to invite representatives from international media and organize press meets here. This way, we can do mass branding for VNY 2020," he said.
Vaidya stated that the government's willingness was needed to organize programs for tourism promotion. "Tourism is an area that needs continuous investment. It's time that the government wisely invested in infrastructure for sustainable tourism development in Nepal," he said.