NEPAL is a tourist's paradise with an infinite variety
of interesting things to see and do. Nepal has many things
to offer the visitors – the art and architecture of
the temples of Kathmandu Valley, the towering peak of Mount
Everest, and spectacularly, views of mountains such as Machhapuchare
and Amadablam. Besides the3se there is the Mount Gauri Shankar,
Believed to be the home of Lord Shiva and his consort, Goddess
Parvat the Ganesh Himal, referred as the home of the elephant
God Ganesh and the Mount Annapurna named after the Goddess
of Plenty. As a matter of fact, draped along the greatest
heights of the Himalaya, the Kingdom of Nepal is the land
of eternal fascination, a land of ancient history, colorful
cultures and peoples, superb scenery and has some of the best
trekking routes in the world.
With a population of about 20 million, the people of Nepal
are as diverse as the terrain in language, custom and culture.
From mountain to valley to plateau to plains, the ethnic groups
vary as much as the climates.
Kathmandu Valley is the magical kingdom's capital with seven
world renowned heritages within a distance of 20 kms. radius.
All three Durbar Suares, Kathmandu, Patan and Bhaktapur, are
full of curio artifacts. There are more festivals celebrated
there than the days in our calendar. Mr. W. Kirkpartick commented
that Kathmandu Valley has "As many temples as many People".
Majority of tourists and visitors are attracted by the cultural
heritage of Kathmandu Valley. Cultural resources of potential
use for tourism exist throughout the Kingdom which embraces
a combination of northern and southern Asian cultures, representing
no less than 60 ethics groups, dozens of languages, 70 dialects
and two major religions. One of the tribal groups in western
Nepal (Rana Tharus) wear 32 types of ornaments which weigh
about 8 kgs. Nepal has so many rich culture and heritage worth
feeling and studying.
Although Nepal is officially a Hindu country, two religious
dominate the lives of the people here – Hinduism and
Buddhism. Here both the religions have coexisted amicably
for centuries and many people perform both festivals that
still into the streets of the cities with a great deal of
fervour and gaiety Nepal offers the easiest and the shortest
route to Tibet. Since the opening of Tibet, the route from
Kathmandu has become increasingly popular. There are no seasonal
hazards in traveling through this beautiful Himalayan Kingdom.
The growth in international tourism has made great strides
in Nepal during the last four decades. This scenario has been
reflected by the dramatic increase of tourists in recent years.
There were 4017 number of tourists in 1960 whereas it reached
a total of 393,613 tourists in 1996, indicating an increase
by many folds during 36 years (1960-1996). Nepal received
a total number of 393,613 tourists in 1996 as against 363,
395 of 1995 reflecting an increase of 30,218.
Tourism sector has been playing a vital role in recent years
to enhance the world economic. In addition it creates a vital
impact in the social aspects of a nation. Likewise, this industry
forms not only a major source of foreign exchange to our country
where exportable items are limited but also creates employment
opportunities and income. Besides, tourism has been accepted
in our country as a catalyst for world peace, international
friendship and understanding.
The tourist sector has been contributing substantially in
the national income by way of earning convertible foreign
exchange. The total revenue from this sector has been reported
to be US $ 116,644,000 for the year 1996. There are 632 tourist
hotels with a total of 13084 hotel rooms or 25638 hotel beds.
In the Kathmandu Valley 293 hotels with 7991 rooms or 15477
beds were available at the end of the year 1996. Outside the
valley 339 hotels with 5093 rooms or 10227 beds were available
for the tourists in the same year.
As tourism continues to remain the most important segment
of Nepalese economy in 1997, due the negative growth in other
industrial sectors of the country, the government has been
planning to receive more and more international tourists in
the future years. 500,000 tourists planned to visit the country
in the Visit Nepal Year 1998. Similarly, the total tourist
arrival would reach 635,000 in the year 2000, 761,000 in 2005
and 952,000 in 2010. To absorb this level of growth in tourist
traffic, considerable investments in hotels and resorts, infrastructure
development, expansion of international air services and strengthening
of institutional arrangements for tourism manpower to keep
pace with the growing international tourism industry.
Tourism in additional to being the most important segment
of Nepalese economy, has played a critical role in international
recognition of Kathmandu's cultural heritage, better appreciation
of Nepalese art and handicrafts production.
Tourism has added many positive aspects in the world economy
but it has brought with itself many negative aspects also.
Nepal is not an exception to this paradox. We are facing,
the changes in the ethnic demography and culture of Kathmandu,
commercialization in people's attitudes and dealings, leaving
our culture behinds. Sponsored shows for the pleasure of the
tourists, unplanned and uncontrolled expansion of carpet industry,
pollution and voyeurism makes every thing in the country look
like it is on sale. Besides, crime rate art theft street begging
has increased in the recent years.
Due these negative aspects despite the increase in foreign
exchange, tourism industries have more critics than admires.
Edmund Hillary, the hero of Everest in 1953, nicknamed it
"the world's biggest junkyard." The problem of increasing
piles of non-biodegradable litter and garbage in the Mt. Everest
and Khumbu areas, introduced by trekkers and mountaineers
has already become almost insurmountable.
All said and done, Nepal is a tourist paradise, a Shangri-la.
The country offers varieties of attraction to the tourists.
If Nepal to achieve its tourism industrial goal she much achieve
the goal of Salzburg's tourism promotion policy. The goal
Salzgurg's tourism promotion is not any longer to increase
the number of arrivals but to maintain the high standard of
services and at the same time protect the cultural heritage
and the environment and make sure that it is passed on undestroyed
to future generations.