KATHMANDU, Nepal- Political parties contesting the November Poll have incorporated development of tourism sector at their top priority in their respective election manifesto.
Major political parties like Unified Communist Party of Nepal (CPN) Maoist, Nepali Congress (NC), CPN-Unified Marxist and Leninist (UML) among others have given high importance to the tourism sector and its development and said that they will work for the overall development of the tourism sector if they win the elections.
Tourism entrepreneurs have also taken this the good sign as major political parties expressed their commitment to develop tourism sector.
As per the commitment paper of the UCPN(Maoist), the party will bring at least two million tourists every year. The party has also vowed to build second international airport at Nijgad, regional airports at Pokhara, Bhairawa, Biratnagar and Dhangadi, apart from purchasing five new airplanes in the next five years.
The party has also expressed its commitment to develop Lumbini, the birth place of lord Buddha, as religious spot for Buddhists and bring large number of religious tourists in the ancient city of Janakpur by improving the physical infrastructure of the city.
Likewise, Khaptad of far-western region, Rara area of Karnali, and Dhorpatan area of western region will be developed as important tourist destinations. Similarly, an income amounting 50 percent of the total income collected from mountaineering and other tourist royalties will be used in the development of respected regions and its people.
In the same way, identifying agriculture, tourism, industries, hydropower as the base of industrial revolution, Nepali Congress has placed the tourism sector as its second priority sector. The largest democratic party in the country has mentioned in its manifesto that it will allocate 2 billion rupees in its yearly budget to develop ‘Buddhist Circuit’ incorporating all the religious, archeological and tourism infrastructure in the Lumbini area.
With its ambitious plan to bring 5 million tourist in the next ten years, the NC has mentioned in its manifesto that it will develop western and far-western region as the major tourism destinations and explore new destinations across the nation.
Generating employment through tourism sector, and making it the main source to generate foreign money, the NC said in its commitment paper that it will work to recognize Nepal as the perfect destination for religious tourism, mountaineering and adventurous tourism in the world.
In the same way, the CPN (UML) with its slogan “Upkeeping cultural cooperation: Promotion of domestic and foreign tourism” has envisioned ambitious figure to bring 2 million tourists by the next five years.
The UML with its plan to develop tourist destinations at mid and far-west, said to incorporate Ramgram, Devdaha, Lumbini, Tilaurakot among others to develop Wider Lumbini Development Master Plan. Likewise, the plans to develop Pashupatinath, Ram JanakiTemples for cultural tourism and safety of tourists and conservation of the environment of tourism destinations are also the UML concern.
However, tourism entrepreneurs are not much happy with what the parties have committed. “Though it’s good to read that major political parties have given tourism sector a top priority in their election manifestos,” Ramesh Dhamal, President of Trekking Agencies’ Association of Nepal (TAAN) said, “The parties have not stressed their concern over the government investment to develop tourism infrastructure, human resource development in the tourism sector and the main concern of waste management”.
Tourism entrepreneur and general secretary of TAAN, Sagar Pandey, said this a milestone, as major political parties have expressed their commitments to develop tourism sector.
Madhusudan Pyakurel, general secretary of Society of Travel and Tour Operators Nepal, said that the parties are seen making commitments in the manifesto, “but if they act as per their commitments after the elections, the result would raise Nepal to one of the top destinations in the world.”