Yogi’s visit a milestone in tourism (Editorial)


India's Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh, Yogi Adityanath, has arrived in Janakpurdham with the wedding procession from Ayodhya on the auspicious occasion of Bibaha Panchami. Yogi’s visit to Janakpurdham has been billed as a cultural visit.

This year’s celebration will highlight the shared cultural and people-to-people relationship between the two countries. Indian government’s decision to send Yogi along with the procession reflects its willingness to further cement Nepal-India ties. The state with the largest population, India’s Uttar Pradesh has significant political clout. Chief Minister Yogi has announced plans to build Ram temple in Ayodhya.

A wedding procession of lord Ram arrives in Janakpur from Ayodhya, India on the day of Vivaha Panchami every year to mark the wedding of Lord Ram and Goddess Sita in Janakpur in Treta epoch, as per the Hindu mythology.

The government is making preparations to observe 2020 as Visit Nepal Year with a target to bring in 2 million tourists. And there is good news in this regard as any Indian Chief Minister visited Nepal.

India had the largest number of tourists at 178 thousand followed by Chinese at 134 thousand. Third come America with 82 thousand visitors, followed by 57 thousand British and 34 thousand Germans in the fourth and fifth position respectively. American and European tourists prefer to go for trekking and sightseeing to Sagarmatha and Langtang regions while Indian and Chinese opt for Pokhara, Annapurna region and Muktinath.

Nepal does hold huge potential in tourism sector and the country can reap immense benefits provided the available potential is exploited properly. The country boasts of eight of the 10 highest mountains in the world and is richly endowed with natural beauty and cultural biodiversity that draws a significant number of tourists from around the world. Mount Everest, Kathmandu and Pokhara Valley, Lumbini, the birthplace of Buddha, Muktinath, and Saurha are very popular tourist destinations in Nepal.

However, Nepal’s tourism potential remains largely untapped as it is beset with myriad problems. They include low capital investment in this sector that has a direct bearing on tourism-related infrastructure and facilities including transportation and communication, hotels and eateries; inadequate means of enjoyment and entertainment for tourists; lack of adequate number of tourist information centres; neglect in protection of natural and cultural heritages, etc. So the government needs to act earnestly to address these problems and further enhance Nepal’s image internationally as one of the best tourist destinations across the world. It must take into consideration the fact that tourism is the largest service industry in the country and a big source of foreign currency earnings and revenue; it is the second main component of economy after agriculture providing direct or indirect employment to nearly half a million people, about 4.0 per cent of the total number of people employed, and generating about 90 billion rupees in revenue that amounts to almost 5.0 per cent of the total gross domestic production of the country. Earnest efforts on part of the government are sure to multiply the benefits from tourism sector as well as to make visible difference in the national economy.

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