Year 2007 proved to be an encouraging year for Nepal and its tourism industry. Thanks to steady development in the Peace process and return to political stability in the country, Nepalese tourism succeeded to bounce back after suffering badly in the past 6 years.
Nepal enjoyed 27.1% growth in Tourists arrival by Air in 2007 with the arrival number reaching 360,350 all time high since the year 2000. As per Nepal Tourism Board, the total number of tourists arrival to Nepal is expected to cross half million mark after adding the number of tourist who arrived by road.
International airlines showed great confidence on Nepal as a potential destination helping Nepal to bounce back. 9 new International airlines started its operations to Nepal in 2007 viz Dragon Air, Silk Air, Air Arabia, Etihad Airways, China Southern, Orient Thai etc. Similarly Jet Airways, Qatar Air, Air China increased the frequency of their flights to Kathmandu creating more seats.
Interestingly there was still crunch for seats to Kathmandu during the peak months of October & November which is evident that Nepal could have catered to more tourists with higher number of air seats in its international sectors and better infrastructure.
Demanding the government to declare Nepal a Republican state prior to the election, Communist Party of Maoists backed out from the government resulting the postponement of most awaited Constituent Assembly Election slated for
Nov 2007. This fueled to the growing fear of Nepalese peace process being derailed. However, Nepalese political leaders demonstrated great patience and sheer dedication in resolving the political differences through dialogue.
With the recent amendment in Interim constitution of Nepal, Parliament declared Nepal as a Republican state which is to be endorsed officially by the first meeting of Constituent assembly after the election. However the bumpy ride is not yet over. Ethnic movement by ‘Madhesi’ in the southern Terai region will try to pose some hurdle however the political analysts believe that the election would also address this problem in due course of time.
Communist party of Maoist has rejoined the government on the 31st December showing green signal to part take in the election. Now the political parties are working closely to announce the new date for election which is expected to be around early April 2008. Election is expected to pave the road of Nepal towards permanent peace.
Recently in a program organized by Nepal Tourism Board, Minister for Finance Dr. Ram Saran Mahat said that Nepal has best tourism products in the world in terms of its diversity, variation of landscape, culture and tradition within a short distance. Stressing on the ongoing peace process as a positive sign, he also urged the diplomatic community to review their travel advisory in the changed context of Nepal’s political scenario.
Mr. Prachanda Man Shrestha, CEO, Nepal Tourism Board said that in the aftermath of the changed political context of Nepal and restoration of peace by putting to an end the decade long uncertainty and conflict, tourism industry has taken a sigh of relief. He further added, “Stakeholders and general public have been exhilarated and encouraged to participate in tourism activities with an anticipation to see tourism boom in the nation.
Nepal has great potential to come forward as a prominent tourist destination in Asia with the help of right strategy and winning attitude. Nepal is eagerly looking forward for a sustainable peace and prosperity. Needless to say, Tourism industry will have a great role to play in shaping Nepal’s future ensuring the benefit to its all citizen as believed in ‘trickle down effect’.