Unsurprisingly the target to welcome 1 Million tourists in the Nepal Tourism Year 2011 was not met. Nor was the government able to increase the average stay and expenditure of tourists during the ‘big’ year. I quote on big as we can blame the very delayed start and nonstrategic promotions being one of the FEW reasons for the failure to meet the target of Nepal Tourism Year 2011. I had wrote a piece on NTY 2011 back in September 2009 and even had a countdown to the launch that took place on 14th January 2011.
GOOD NEWS is that Nepal welcomed approximately 730,000 tourists which is still a huge improvement from 448,769 in 2010 (NTB figure). Much of the increase in tourists was from the two neighboring countries China (increase by 8.3%) and India (increase by 39%). There was a drop in arrival numbers from Europe thanks to the recession and the poor air connectivity!
Sadly, few of our political parties broke their promise to not take part in strike activities as nationwide strikes did affect the country in the tourism year and the story of Nepal Airlines is once again in limbo as the national airline still has not expanded it’s fleet but had various mouse troubles during the year. I was in Nepal for a good two months in 2011 and aside from seeing stickers of Nepal Tourism Year 2011 in few places (mostly trekking spots), there was not much fanfare as I had expected. During my travel in the off-peak season Chitwan was the only tourist destination where I came across several dozen tourists. That was the only time I felt I saw Nepal Tourism Year 2011 working.
I guess it was pretty expected that the government would be very lethargic in their promotions and upgrading of facilities. Nonetheless, it’s still a good result and let’s encourage the government and ourselves to continue promoting Nepal as if it’s Nepal Tourism Year 2011 each year so numbers continue to rise. Not to forget that 14th January will see the launch of Visit Lumbini Year 2012 (how many are actually aware?).
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