October 16: Stakeholders view that domestic tourism is now the alternative for Nepal's tourism development as there is no possibility of arrival of international tourists at present due to the coronavirus pandemic. They said so at a tourism dialogue program on 'Sustainable Internal Tourism: First Step for Tourism Revival' organized by Tourism Recovery Task Force (TRTF) Nepal on Thursday.
They believe that the emphasis should be on domestic tourism for the time being as the coronavirus’ impact is unlikely to decline and international tourists are eager to know about health care. They further say that everyone should give special attention to compliance with the health standards set by the government as the infection has been rising.
Speaking at the program, Shreejana Rana, president of Hotel Association of Nepal (HAN), said that although the hotels are prepared for any kind of situation, the focus should be given on promoting domestic tourism at the national level as the international tourists are still in ‘wait and watch’ situation.
She further said an integrated approach should be taken for the promotion of domestic tourism by coordinating among all the stakeholders. Captain Rameshwor Thapa, president of Airline Operators Association of Nepalsaid that although the airlines sector was more affected due to coronavirus, there has been some relief after the domestic flights were resumed. He said that they had been requesting the government to start the operation of flights by applying health and safety standards. He further said that the public was able to travel comfortably and no one has been infected.
Deepak Raj Joshi, coordinator of the Tourism Recovery Task Force (TRTF), pointed out to the need for coordination among the three levels of government for the promotion of domestic tourism.
Chairman of the HAN Pokhara Chapter, Bikal Tulachan, said that there was no alternative but to focus on domestic tourism to keep the economic activities going on. He opined that along with Pokhara, Lumbini and Chitwan other connected destinations should be promoted.