Nepal Tourism Explorations – Tourism in Nepal
Nepal is suitable for tourism. Although Nepal is a small country, it is geographically extremely diverse. There are plains, hills, mountains, valleys, gorges, and river basins. The climate also varies across the country as we move from Terai to the Himalayas.
We know that climate depends on topography, altitude, and distance from the sea. So, the climate of Nepal is highly influenced from its varied altitudes. Similarly, people’s lifestyle also depends on upon the climate and the geography of a place. It is because social and economic activities are related to the climate and the structure of the land.
If we go northward from the south, the altitude increases and temperature decreases. In a similar way, people’s lifestyle and economic activities also change.
There is bio-diversity in the country due to the variation in climate and altitude as well. In general, we have hot and humid summer and cold and dry winter.
The Terai region consists of thick forests covered with tall trees; the Hilly region has deciduous forests; in the Himalayan region, we can find coniferous and alpine forests. Saal. sisoo, catechu, spruce, cedar, pine, and fur are commonly found trees in Nepal. We also have much more non-timber plants.
Nepal is a developing country with an agricultural economy. Farming is the main economic activity followed by tourism, trade, service and manufacturing. Agriculture employs about 80% of the population and contributes about40% of GDP. It represent less than 10% of the GDP. Manufacturing and industry are in the developmental stage and Tourism is one of the important economic activities of Nepal.
Nepal mainly exports raw materials, agro products, handy crafts, readymade garments and woolen carpets.The main occupation of people is agriculture; however, tourism, industry, services, foreign employment are other prominent sectors of employment. About three million hectare of land is arable and only 25 percent of the land has irrigation facility.
The Terai and the river basins of the hilly region have irrigation facility. The rest of arable land must depend on occasional rainfall. Due to the lack of year-round irrigation facility, fanners have no work throughout the season. As a result, farmers remain semi-employed. Nepal suffers from deluge during the rainy season and from drought during the winter ana summer seasons. So, Nepal is unable to fully take advantages from agriculture.
Nepal Tourism Exploration
We have mentioned in the some of the post about cultural an religious sites are only a few of many such sites. Such religious and cultural sites are situated all over the country from Mechi to Mahakali and from Terai to Hill and Mountains.
There are many temples, gumbos, viharas, mosques, churches, and chaityas. To name a few of them: Halesi of Khotang, Swargadwari of Pyuthan, Gosainkunda of Rasuwa, Pativrata of Taplejung, Chhintag Bhagawati of Dhankuta, Mankamana of Gorkha, Muktinath of Mustang, and so people following different religions go there to pray and worship. But the unique feature of Nepali culture is religious tolerance. We all respect each other’s religion.
Nepal is a multi-religious, multi-ethnic and multi-cultural country. There are many cultural and religious heritages and sites in Nepal. Kirkpatrick, one of the earlier European historians of Nepal had truly remarked, “There are nearly as many temples as houses and as many idols as inhabitants”. Bhaktapur Durbar Square, Boudhanath Stupa, Chngunarayan Temple, Hanuman Dhoka Durbar Square, Lumbini, Patan Durbar Square, Pashupatinath temple area and Swayambunath Stupa are the cultural heritage sites enlisted in the World Heritage Site by UNESCO.
Ram Janaki Temple, the biggest temple in Nepal, is dedicated to Sita, daughter of King Janak. Pashupati temple, the holiest pilgrimage site of the Hindus, is the symbol of faith, religion and culture. It is enlisted in the list of World Heritage Sites by UNESCO in 1972 AD. Swayambhunath Stupa, which has glancing eyes of Lord Buddha, symbolizes that god is omnipresent. Nepal is a religiously tolerant country where all the religions have equal respect.
Heritages are very important to us. They mean a lot of things to us. They are symbols of our social and national unity, history, pride, and identity. They are a source of income, inspiration, creative activities, recreation, entertainment, history, literature, technology and other valuable aspects of our civilization. They give guidelines and directions in our daily lives.
They promote both domestic and international tourism. All these religious heritages are a common wealth of the Nepalese people. It is every Nepali’s outmost duty and responsibility to protect, preserve and promote these cultural heritages.
The government of Nepal has also declared Lumbini Tourism Year 2012 to promote Lumbini – the birthplace of Lord Buddha.
In 2007, the number of international tourists visiting Nepal was 526,705, which was an increase of 37.2% compared to the previous year. In 2008, the number of tourists decreased by 5% to 500,277.
In 2008, 55.9% of the foreign visitors came from Asia (18.2% from India), while Western Europeans accounted for 27.5%, 7.6% were from North America, 3.2% from Australia and the Pacific Region, 2.6% from Eastern Europe, 1.5% from Central and South America, 0.3% from Africa and 1.4% from other countries.
Foreign tourists visiting Nepal in 2008 stayed in the country for an average of 11.78 days.
Tourism Activities in Nepal: Tourism activities, services and industries including transportation, accommodations, eating and drinking establishments, retail shops, entertainment businesses, and other hospitality services are related to tourism occupation in Nepal. Tourism is the largest industry in Nepal.
Many people are involved in this sector. It is one of the important economic activities of Nepal, It is in fact the largest source of foreign exchange and revenue. Possessing 8 of the 10 highest mountains in the world, Nepal is a hot spot destination for mountaineers, rock climbers and people seeking adventures.
Importance of Tourism in Nepal
Tourism industry is playing very important role in the social and economic sectors in Nepal The importance could be described as follows:
- Source of foreign Currency:
Tourism is one of the main sources of foreign currencies. The foreign tourists pay direct and indirect taxes, spend money for food, lodging, transportation and for other services they take. Thus, the country can earn currencies to its national income.
- Employment Opportunity:
This industry creates employment opportunities for the people. A large number of tour and trekking guides, porters, cooks, travel agents, hotel agents and staff, air and road transport staff, handicraft manufacturers, salespersons and so on are required to run this industry.
- Development of Physical Infrastructures:
Tourism helps to develop physical infrastructures. Tourist destinations and mid-way places need infrastructures development as airports, roads, tracks, hotels, restaurants, health posts, water supply system, electricity, communication etc. Remote areas get developed.
- Increase in Trade and Commerce:
Tourism increases trade, commerce, and business. Tourists need food, water, beverage, dairy products, meat, fruits, poultry and other agricultural products etc. They buy different local products and involve in different activities which promote trade and business.
- Promotion of Arts and Cultures:
Tourists like to see our arts, artifacts, cultures, traditions, historical monuments and heritage sites. It ultimately helps and encourages in the protection, preservation, and promotion of our arts and cultures.
- Publicity of the Country:
Tourism has largely been contributing in the publicity of the country to the outside world. Many tourists visit Nepal. Nepal is known to the world through them. Day by day, Nepal has been a popular tourist destination.
- Exposure to New Ideas and Technologies:
Our people get opportunities to interact and learn new ideas, cultures, knowledge and technology. Our people get training and skills of different kinds and levels.
- Support to Cottage and Small Industries:
Tourism enhances small and cottage industries as the tourists like to buy handicrafts and locally manufactured goods as souvenirs and gifts.
Problems Created By Tourism
Tourism industry creates some problems too. There can be socio-economic, cultural and environmental problems if preventive measures aren’t taken in advance. They are as follows:
- Increment of Pollution:
Mass tourism can increase the pollution. When they travel or go for trekking, they use varieties of packed and tin foods. When these plastics, tin and cans are left there, it increases pollution.
- Disease and Drugs:
All the tourists may not be of the same quality. Some of them may be suffering from serious communicable diseases or may have a drug addiction. They might come in contact with our people and ruin our society.
- Cultural Degradation:
There is a danger of local culture being negatively influenced. Some of their cultures not suitable to us may pollute our society.
- Environmental Effect:
Mass tourism may contribute to deforestation, destruction of habitats, illegal trading of rare species of plants and animals. Natural beauty and landscape can be affected in the due course of time when new tourist spots keep opening.
- Things got Expensive:
The cost of goods and items of daily use can increase sharply in and around tourist destinations.
- Peace and Tranquility Affected:
In such a situation, there is overcrowding of a place can adversely affect the peace and tranquility of a place. In such a situation, there is the possibility of smuggling, theft, flesh trade and other illegal activities.
Measures To Check the Problems Created By Tourism
- We should limit the number of tourists visiting the same destination at to same time.
- We should explore and expand new destinations.
- We should charge special tariffs and fees to visit special places.
- We should enforce strict rules and regulation about sanitation and pollute
- We should encourage and give incentive for the use of the solar system.
- We should promote environment-friendly waste disposal ways.
- We should inform and educate the tourists about do’s and don’ts.
- Problems and Challenges in Tourism Industry in Nepal
Major problems and Challenges in Tourism Industry in Nepal
Tourism Industry is not that the country does not have any potential to provide jobs to its people. There are plenty of potentialities for our rapid economic growth. Tourism could provide jobs to hundreds and thousands of youths if it takes off.
Once political stability is achieved, the tourism holds enormous potentials. From climbing high mountains to going on a trekking, from white-water rafting to jungle safari, Nepal provides some of the best tourist destinations. So is the case of agriculture.
Due to the variety of climatic and geographical conditions available in the country, Nepal has the best potentialities for growing fruits, vegetables, herbs, tea, coffee etc. Fishery, poultry and animal husbandry also have a very good scope. If we can diversify and commercialize agriculture, we can create a lot of jobs.
There are tremendous possibilities for the development of tourism industry in Nepal. At the same time, there are many problems as well. The major problems are:
- Lack of Transport and Communication Facilities:
Most of the tourists use airway to come to Nepal. But, the national flag carrier, Nepal Airlines Corporation (NAC) flies to very few international destinations. NAC has an acute shortage of aircraft. Nepal is geographically quite a difficult country. Much of its removal parts are still not linked by road net-works. Transportation and communication facilities are limited. Existing roads are also not very good.
- Lack of Conservation of Cultural and Religious Places:
Although Nepal is rich in cultural and religious heritages and sites, they lack proper care, repair maintenance, protection, preservation, and promotion. Many of such important places have been encroached, polluted and neglected. Lack of Means of Entertainment There
- Lack of Means of Entertainment:
There is lack of means of entertainment services and facilities. Proper means of entertainment haven’t yet been developed. There are hardly any means of entertainment for the accompanying families and children. Existing means of entertainment are also very limited. Most of the means of entertainment are traditional type. Due to this, tourists normally don’t stay long.
- Lack of Proper Tourist Centres:
There lacks properly organized and equipped tourist centres. It is more so in rural and remote areas. Tourists face problems in getting information, disseminated on Nepal. Very few people know Nepal around the world. We have not been able to publicize about what we have in our country.
- Lack of Tourist-oriented Goods:
Nepal doesn’t produce many tourist-oriented goods. This has been a big challenge. We have to import almost every goods tourists need. This takes our money out of the country. Furthermore, such imported goods make their stay expensive too forcing them to cut short their stay.
- Lack of Safety and Security:
Tourists want to visit places where their safety and security is guaranteed. We lack resources and mechanism to provide security in remote places. Due to the political instability, the overall security situation in our country is not satisfactory. Many times, tourists have been the victims of avalanche, snowstorm, rape, theft, loot and cheating.
- Lack of Accommodation:
Tourists expect good and comfortable living conditions. Our country lacks such facilities in remote areas. There aren’t enough hotels and lodges. Some of the accommodations which we have aren’t up to the expectation of tourists.
- Lack of Sanitation:
There is not proper management of garbage and wastes. Our roads and neighbourhood are often full of garbage. It pollutes the environment and causes serious diseases. Tourists may be victims of such diseases. This ultimately leads to the decrease of tourists.
- Lack of Skill Manpower, Capital, and Technology:
Tourism is a sensitive and demanding sector. It requires skilled and competent manpower supported by modern equipment, machinery, and technology. Unfortunately, our country lacks these things.
- Lack of Publicity:
There has not been enough publicity about the various destinations and services available in Nepal. There is limited information disseminated on Nepal. Very few people know about Nepal around the world. We haven’t been able to publicize about what we have in our country.
Measures to Solve the Tourism Problems
The following measures can be taken to solve these problems;
- The number and capacity of domestic and international air services should be increased.
- The road and communication networks should be developed to all tourist destination.
- There should be regular and reliable means of transportation and communication.
- There should be proper markets, hotels, lodges, restaurants and other basic facilities.
- Goods required by tourists should be as far as possible produced locally,
- Immigration process should be made simple and easy.
- There should be more effective publicity and advertisement around the world through various means.
- Religious, cultural and natural sites should be properly protected, maintained and preserved.
- Local and foreign investors should be encouraged,
- We should ensure safety and security of tourists,
- We should open more tourist centres necessary means and resources.
- We should keep the environment clean and pollution free,
- We should train and educate our people in this field,
- Both private and government sectors should work for the hand by hand to develop this important industry.