Visit Nepal campaign fails to enthuse remote Karnali districts

Published On: January 2, 2020 09:54 AM NPT By: NAGENDRA UPADHYAYA AND DB BUDHA

SURKHET/ JUMLA, Jan 2: Karnali Province inaugurated Visit Nepal Year (VNY) 2020 campaign on Wednesday at provincial capital Birendranagar with great fanfare and rejoicing. 

However, other districts of the province are still not prepared for the yearlong campaign.

Rara Lake of Mugu, Sinja Vallley of Jumla, the oldest discovered inscription in Nepali-language in Dailkeh and Phoksundo Lake of Dolpa are the major tourism attractions of the province. There areas draw tourists in large numbers. However, no activity was organized in these destinations on the opening day of the VNY 2020 campaign.

While other provinces organized inauguration ceremony at their main tourism destinations, Karnali Province chose to hold the celebrations at Bulbule Garden in the provincial headquarters.

Not a single program was organized in Jumla. Apart from forming a district-level VNY Coordination Committee as per the request of Ministry of Industry, Tourism, Forest and Environment, nothing was done in the district. No budget was allocated for the purpose.

Kamra Budha, vice chairperson of the coordination committee, said VNY 2020 will not be successfully by neglecting the Karnali region. "Activities organized at the provincial capital alone will not bring awareness about the campaign among local people," he added.

“A committee has been formed in Jumla as per the letter received from the tourism ministry. But the committee could do nothing in the absence of clear guidelines and budget," he added.

The federal tourism ministry has listed Dundul Chaitya and Sinja Valley of Jumla in its destination list. Similarly, the provincial government has identified Chandannath temple, Guthichaur, Kanaksundari, Triveni Dham and Dansaghu as potential tourist destinations of the district. But nothing has been done for promotion and infrastructure development in these areas.

Neighboring Kalikot district also did not make any preparation for the VNY 2020. Nobody in the district knows which agency will oversee VNY celebration. District-level committee has been formed, but even the committee is clueless about the celebration. 

The situation in Mugu is no different. Tourists are returning from the district due to cold weather and heavy snowfall in recent days. No program was activity was organized in the district on the day.

Nabin Sharma, a local of Jumla, said that Karnali is feeling left out as other tourism destination celebrate VNY with aplomb. 

 "Karnali is not getting desired benefits from tourism despite having so many attractions due to lack of infrastructure. Good roads would have brought more tourists to this impoverished region," he added.

Out of 10 districts of Karnali, only Humla is yet to be connected with the national road network. Road access to other districts is also not good. 

The condition of Karnali Highway – the only road that links the Karnali region to the rest of the country – is pathetic. Tourists heading to Rara Lake have to suffer as road from Nagma of Jumla to Rara is not blacktopped. 

The provincial government has set a target of welcoming 100,000 international tourists in the province in 2020.


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