National Tourism Strategy Plan for Nepal
UNWTO has assisted the Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation (MoCTCA) in Nepal to develop a new National Tourism Strategy Plan for the country.
Nepal has been officially open for international tourism since 1951 and the sector today is an important employer and earner of foreign currency. The country is endowed with rich resources, including the Himalayas as a leading attraction and a wide range of cultural heritage sites. Yet, the country’s share of tourism receipts and arrivals in Asia has remained relatively limited, and the tourism sector has to address several challenges to achieve its full growth potential over the next few decades. Against this background, the tourism sector identified the need for the direction of a strong strategy to guide its growth. Thus, the Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation (MoCTCA), with the support of SNV Nepal, commissioned the World Tourism Organization to prepare a guiding National Tourism Strategy Plan with a 10-year horizon and a 5-year Action Plan to kick-start the process.
The overall goal of the 10-year National Tourism Strategy Plan for Nepal is to provide Government and stakeholders with a guiding framework that will support the economic development vision of Nepal through technical and financial assistance for developing the tourism industry, as a key catalyst for rapid economic growth and job creation.
The project was carried out over a 10 week-period [mid-September to end of November, 2013] and involved a team of four international and four national experts. A number of techniques were employed, which included review of documents and studies, field trips around the country, workshops with stakeholders (three in Kathmandu, Pokhara and Biratnagar), stakeholder meetings (Lumbini, Bhairahawa, Bharatpur, Chitwan, Dhangadhi, Tikapur, Bardia National Park, Nepalgunj, Namje and Illam), interviews with key informants and tourism stakeholders, interviews with a few visitors at tourist sites, questionnaires with tour operators from different source markets (45 useable surveys) and with domestic operators (90), and reports to the working committee.
The vision for tourism expressed in the Government’s Vision 2020 and adopted for the National Strategy Plan for Nepal is:
Tourism is valued as the major contributor to a sustainable Nepal economy, having developed as a safe, exciting and unique destination through conservation and promotion, leading to equitable distribution of tourism benefits and greater harmony in society
The proposed development strategy is to be implemented in two stages. Phase 1 will be from 2014 to 2018. During the first phase of the strategy the emphasis will be on diversification and improvement. The range of products will be diversified by opening new areas and locations, which will also result in relieving congestion in tourism zones that are under pressure, developing new types of products and consolidating products that are currently emerging. Yet, the very successful trekking and mountaineering product, which Nepal currently relies on, will not be abandoned and efforts will be made to defend it and improve it. The quality improvement of products and services across the board will also be the focus during this phase.
Phase 2 will be from 2019 to 2023. During the second phase of the strategy the emphasis will be on consolidating the new products and the new locations developed during phase one, opening new areas, expanding the product range and targeting new high yield markets. The focus therefore will be on consolidation and expansion. The strive to deliver quality will continue to be the focus of the strategy as well as quality control to maintain the quality improvements that have been achieved.