Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Experts urge integrated tourism promotion

Experts urge integrated tourism promotion

Tourism experts and entrepreneurs underscored the need of a well-planned and integrated promotional campaign to lure more tourists.

They also stressed on the need of a triangular partnership among the concerned stakeholders including government, private sector and common people in order to make such a campaign successful and have tangible impact on socio-economic development endeavours, reports the Himalayan Times.

Citing tourism as an ever changing and never-ending phenomenon, they noted that benefits of the industry should be proportionately re-distributed.

They were speaking at a seminar on ‘A million tourists: opportunities and challenges ahead’ jointly organised by Society of Economic Journalists of Nepal (SEJON) and Nepal Tourism Board (NTB), on December 30, 2007 commemorating NTB entering into 10th year.

“Tourism is a causative factor or catalyst for overall development, which requires facelift or dress up time to time,” Karna Shakya, a noted tourism expert and entrepreneur, said adding that the proposed event could freshen up image and boost up tourists confidence.

He further stressed on the need of innovation, product and destination diversification as well as coming up from conventional trend to cater diverse and changing needs in travel-tourism trade. “Tourism is not simply a trade. It is also a science of understanding human psychology,” Shakya added.

He urged the concerned stakeholders to converge in teamwork culture to ensure that tourism industry is a hassle-free sector. Shakya was of the opinion for the promotion of new and innovative products like endemic tourism, destination specific products and serves.

“Nepal holds tremendous potentials. So far we have used a small chunk of them,” he said. Former tourism secretary Dipendra Purush Dhakal also noted that the time has come for Nepal to launch a kind of promotional campaign to tap from the current growth in travel trade industry.

“Nepal needs to diversify tourism products and destination with a constant focus of developing rural tourism,” he said.

Dhakal urged for waiving restriction in controlled trekking areas and implementing self-regulating code of conduct for entrepreneurs.

Lila Mani Poudel, tourism secretary, informed that new initiatives for formulating new tourism policy and master plan and infrastructure development are underway to cater growing tourism prospects.

He said that exercises to launch a promotional campaign like Visit Nepal Year or similar is being carried out and will be formally announced after discussion with stakeholders. Poudel further said that new policies would be tied up with action plan and resources in order to yield better results.

“The proposed campaign would encompass social marketing strategies ensuring proportionate benefits of the industry to grassroots levels and other contributors,” he said. Explaining successes achieved and challenges faced by the industry, Prachanda Man Shrestha, CEO at the NTB, said the new areas and tourism products introduced in recent times have helped to bring the marginalised people into the mainstream and supported their livelihood.

He urged the private entrepreneurs to rise above petty sub-sectoral interest conflict. Ram Kaji Koney, president Nepal Association of Travel and Tour Agents (NATTA) and Bikram Pandey, president of Adventure Sports Tourism Society, also shared their views on prospect of tourism and need for diversification of products and services.

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