KATHMANDU: Major political parties have shown unhealthy competition in setting targets to bring in foreign tourists to Nepal. Their election manifestos failed to outline the plans to achieve the ambitious targets.
The CPN Unified Marxist–Leninist (UML), Nepali Congress, and CPN (Maoist Center) seem competing with each other to make their respective manifestos more appealing by increasing the tourist arrival targets. Among the three parties, the Maoist Center has promised to increase annual tourist arrival to 3 million tourists within the next five years.
The ‘Visit Nepal’ campaign which was postponed due to Covid pandemic will be revived with fresh plans and programs to set a foundation to achieve the highest target among the parties. The CPN-UML- the main opposition party, has claimed to expand the tourism-based service sector and increase the number of foreign tourists visiting Nepal to 2.5 million annually within five years. Its manifesto states that Nepal will be developed as an attractive international tourist destination, and tourism promotion programs will be conducted internationally.
It has also pledged to extend the stay of tourists and increase per-tourist expenditure in Nepal stating that necessary arrangements will be made, including the establishment of a university to develop quality human resources in this sector.
The ruling Nepali Congress has also set a goal of driving up tourist arrival to 2 million annually within five years with the target of increasing per day per tourist expenses to USD 100. Similarly, they will make a five-year strategy to boost the confidence of the tourism sector which suffered a huge blow due to Covid. Congress also claims that such a plan will improve the economic condition of the country.
The Janata Samajwadi Party (JSP) promised that the party will develop Nepal as an international tourism center that can also generate employment and support foreign exchange earnings. The JSP has promised to arrange the necessary budget and intensify works to promote Nepal’s tourism based on culture, biology, and geography. The Rashtriya Swatantra Party (RSP) has stated that the process will be made simple and economical for foreign tourists to visit Nepal.