Tourist numbers rise, but not the commercial benefits
May 7, 2023 05:30 PM NPT
By: Enika Rai
KATHMANDU, May 7: Even though the number of tourists coming to the country has increased, tourism entrepreneurs are in trouble because commercial tourism activities have not increased. Tourists entering the country after the Covid-19 pandemic do not spend as expected, which has upset the entrepreneurs.
According to Sanjay Baral, manager of Asian Trekking, the number of tourist arrivals is improving, but based on the number of tourists entering the country, their activities are not running at the expected level. “We are content with the number of tourist arrivals for the time being, but we are concerned about what to do if the tourist activities do not increase. The biggest problem facing the tourism entrepreneurs is the influx of tourists who do not spend. There is no point in an increased number of tourists if they do not spend,” said Baral.
Recently, the government and related agencies are taking steps to revive the tourism sector, which has dried up due to the Covid-19 pandemic. While the government officials are content that the arrival of tourists is improving in terms of numbers, tourism entrepreneurs are disappointed. Stating that now is the right time to look at the tourism sector from a new perspective, Baral said, “Now is the right time for the government and related agencies to look at the tourism sector from a new angle. Attention should be paid to what is needed for the long-term development of this sector, which has been weakened due to Covid-19. If the tourism sector is to continue in the old style, it will not develop.”
He adds, “At this time, if we shift our focus from quantity to quality, and work accordingly, it can make this sector viable. In the long run, it will bring positive results. How long will we just keep saying that we will bring quality tourists? For this, the tourism entrepreneurs should also cooperate with the government. Otherwise, no one will benefit. It is also a good opportunity to think and act wisely.”
He is of the opinion that while the government is making a policy announcement that it will prepare and implement any action plan for the revival and development of tourism, those policies and action plans should be implemented in a way that is not based on popularity. He argues that the tourism business has not progressed in a quality manner because the government makes policies and rules but does not strictly implement them and some entrepreneurs act without thinking about the long term impacts.
Similarly, Kisan Rai, manager of Mount Experience Agency, said that he felt that the tourism activities have gradually returned to the rhythm after the Covid-19, but the numerical calculations of tourism activities are not satisfactory. He expressed the opinion that rather than the number of tourist arrivals announced by the government every month, policy action plans should be made by studying their activities.
“No new clients have come in almost four years since Covid-19. They have not inquired online, nor have they come directly to the office and asked for service. The number of clients who have come to me are those who have been connected since before Covid-19," Baral said, "The government's interest should be in the activities that should be done based on the figures published by the government."
Mountain Guide Association of Nepal founder general secretary and mountain guide Ramkaji Tiwari has said that the government is not working effectively for the revival of tourism. He said that the condition of workers working in the tourism sector is very miserable. He says, “One thing is that it is difficult to get a job, even if you get a job, you don't get the salary or services according to your work.”
“Neither the government nor businessmen address this problem. Government delights in numbers, businessmen delight in work. No one cares about the service facilities of the workers. How can development happen by isolating workers in any field?” He adds, “While the government is beating the drum that tourism is being revived in such and such a number, it never cares whether the minimum service facilities of the workers specified in the Labor Act have been implemented or not."