Tourism in Nepal: Facts and Heresy

Ramesh Mani Suvedi photo
Ramesh Mani Suvedi

Ramesh Mani Suvedi

Tourism can be defined as an activity of travelling from one place to another with a purpose of visit or tour. It is one of the creative ways of spending the leisure time by involving in various recreational activities. However, there are varied types of tourism, namely eco-tourism, adventure tourism, religious tourism, cultural tourism, space tourism etc.

The prospects of tourism in Nepal are exciting and ever growing. This industry has escalated its renown after the government’s proclamation of celebrating Visit Nepal-2020. The government is expecting to invite more than two million tourists to Nepal. This datum does not include the domestic tourists. In addition, entrepreneurs of private tourism industry, travel and aircraft industry are optimistic about their business growth as they have been appallingly deserted by the dwindling number of tourists traversing on Nepalese territories in the recent years.

Bikash JB Rana, Chairman of Fishtail Air, opines that Nepal is lagging behind the development of tourism industry due to lack of experienced consultants. He insists that if Nepal wants tourism sector to be prosperous and developed, the government should hire skilled consultants from a foreign land. ‘Celebrating Visit Nepal Year remains futile unless concerned authorities are allowed to work independently’, he adds. In the words of Madhu Sudhan Upadhyay, President of Society of Travel and Tour Operation Nepal (SOTTO-Nepal), the travel and tours companies in Nepal are fully capable of delivering services to two million tourists. But the available number of hotels, lodges, and air connectivity is not reasonably enough to solidify this aim. So, one of the major challenges is air connectivity. If we extend the services to international flights from Nijgadh International Airport and Pokhara International Airport, the government can achieve the target.

Air connectivity has the biggest role in bringing international tourists to Nepal. Hon’ble Minister for Tourism and Civil Aviation, Yogesh Bhattarai says the government is working scrupulously and exhaustively to ensure that both domestic and international tourists will not face any predicament at the airports. He says that the country has 53 airports in total, among them 35 are in use. Some other airports will soon come in operation. After a few months, we will be able to use Gautam Buddha International Airport. Similarly, by the end of 2020, the work of Pokhara International Airport will be completed. The upgrading and expansion of Tribhuvan International Airport has already been completed. In addition, the government has set priorities to the completion of Nijgadh International Airport as the soonest possible. In addition, the government has also realized the importance of another highly advanced international airport near Kathmandu valley.

Furthermore, tourism is one of the rapidly growing industries in Nepal that holds boundless prospects. On one hand, the citizens get the privileges of profuse job opportunities, appealing living standards and establishment of global fraternity through cultural exchange, on the other hand, the country gets enriched with national income, foreign trade, generation of jobs, infrastructural development etc.

Classification of Tourism

The word, ‘Tourism’ in general indicates a leisurely activity sought by a traveler in a different place from his/her home town/country. People travel for various reasons and their interests differ from the types of touristic destination they seek for.

Adventure Tourism: Adventure tourism incorporates a range of activities that gives a traveler a thrilling experience. Some of the thrilling activities, such as paragliding, trekking, mountaineering, boating, rafting, canoying, kayaking, bungee jumping, ballooning are part of adventure tourism. Nepal has high prospects in these areas. Primarily, Pokhara is the best destination experience most types of adventurous activities, such as paragliding, ballooning, skydiving, boating, trekking to Annapurna Base Camp etc. Similarly, the Trishuli River, Bhotekoshi River enable the tourists to take part in rafting, canoying, kayaking, boating, and bungee jumping. There should be a rapid flow of river to perform these adventurous activities. In addition, Everest Base Camp is famous for trekking through the rhododendron forest and snowy land lead to a magical journey which lies in Sagarmatha Zone of Province 1. In the same token, Upper Mustang has an eye-catching view to offer to the tourists; so, most travelers experience breathtaking journey to the top of this destination.

Religious Tourism: People from various parts of the world visit Nepal in search of religious niches. For religious tourism, Bagmati (Pashupatinath, Swambhunath, Krishna Temple, Dakshinkali Temple, Changunarayan, Budhanilkantha, Gosaikunda), Janakpur (Janaki Temple), Lumbini (Lumbini), Gandaki (Bindhabasini Temple, Manakamana Temple), Dhawalagiri (Muktinath Temple), Sankhuwasabha (Pathivara Temple), Koshi (Baraha Chhetra) etc. are the notable regions for religious tourism.

Cultural Tourism: The conglomeration of natural beauty, precious heritages and wealthy history, Nepal is one of the culturally appealing places in the world. Any tourists seeking for cultural destinations in Nepal are suggested they go to Lo Mathang in Mustang district where they witness the richest Buddhist culture. For the same purpose, tourists are also advised to visit Lumbini area in Rupandehi district to celebrate Buddhism. The eye-catching monasteries in the birthplace of Gautam Buddha invite thousands of Buddhists every month. Similarly, Kathmandu Valley imbibes dozens of cultural sites. Bhaktapur district is rich with ancient artwork and carvings made of wood, stone and metal. Moreover, Sagarmatha National Park lies in the eastern Nepal alongside Mount Everest. This region is culturally rich as Sherpa people showcase their unique culture to the visitors. As a part of cultural tourism, Chitwan National Park holds phenomenal Tharu culture which excites each visitor and indulges them into the peculiar Tharu dance, singing and cultural practices. Not only this, Janakpurdham, which lies in Dhanusa district of Province 2, is ubiquitously popular for Maithili culture and Rajput architecture.

Eco-tourism (Sustainable Tourism):

‘Take nothing but photographs, leave nothing but footprints’ is the slogan of eco-tourism, which is also known as sustainable tourism. Environmentalists are worried about exploitation of nature by visitors who indiscriminately exacerbate the longevity of floras and faunas. More significantly, eco-tourism tour programs should be able to raise the economic activities of the local people, respecting their culture and empower them by creating better understanding between the hosts and the visitors. While practising the ecotourism travel, the guides/mentors should make sure all visitors make their efforts in saving the wildlife, nature and cultural heritage of the particular place. Mainly environmentalists show their concerns over the careless behavior of tourists who unreasonably abuse natural habitats and floras. Nepal welcomes all the tourists across the globe to experience jaw-dropping landscapes, lofty mountains, bio-diversity, green forest, fertile valleys in all three regions of the country: Mountainous, Hilly and Terai.

Jaw-dropping facts about Nepal

  • National Flower: Rhododendron
  • National Bird: Danphe (Scientific Name, Lophophorus)
  • National Anthem: Sayau Thunga Phoolka Haami …Yeutai Mala (We are a garland of hundreds of flowers…)
  • National Game: Volleyball (Officially announced in 2017 AD)
  • National Animal: Cow
  • National Currency: Nepalese Rupee
  • World’s Highest Lake: The Kajin Sara Lake, Manang district (5200 mtrs. Ousting Tilicho Lake with 4919 mtrs height as the world’s highest lake)
  • World’s Highest Mountain(s): Mt. Everest (8848 mtrs.), and 8 of the world’s 14 highest peaks above 8000 mtrs. height.
  • Forest Coverage Area: 44%
  • Ten National Parks: 20% of land has been protected as National Parks, Conservation Areas. Hunting Reserve etc.
  • Ethnic Groups: 126
  • Spoken Languages: 123
  • Religious Sites and Temples: More than 3000
  • Monasteries and Lamaseries: About 1200
  • Butterflies Families: 11 of the world’s 15 families
  • World Heritage Sites: 10
  • Species of Birds: 886
  • Extremely Varied Landscape
  • Abundant Mystical and Unexplored Areas
  • Lush Green Tea Gardens
  • Pristine Lakes
  • Beauty Queens of the Himalayan Opera
  • Thick Tropical Forest
  • Habitat of an Amazing wealth of Wildlife, including the Royal Bengal Tiger and One-horned Rhinos
  • Holy Land where Religion is a Way of Life
  • The Melting Pot of Hinduism and Buddhism
  • Artifacts par excellence, Grand and Ancient Architecture
  • Amicably happy people
  • Kumari: World’s only living Goddess
  • Kathmandu Valley: The City of temples and Chiming Bells
  • Patan: The city of Fine Arts
  • Bhaktapur: The city of Devotees
  • Pashupatinath: Nepal’s most Sacred Hindu Shrine
  • Janaki Temple: Where lord Ram married Sita
  • Muktinath Temple: Above the Clouds
  • Lumbini:  The birth place of Gautam Buddha

All in all, eye-catching landscapes, jaw-dropping landscapes, rugged mountains and trails for trekking and cycling, diverse floras and faunas and august hospitality are most exciting privileges that every visitor experiences in Nepal. However, the government, educationists, stakeholders and civil society should make their utmost efforts to best utilize our natural resources. Since tourism is directly linked with intellectuality, it should comprise formal curriculum as its strong foundation. In addition, the schools, colleges and universities in Nepal should implement practical education so that skilled human resources can be prepared at the apex level.

The Government of Nepal, along with private sectors, should formulate sustainable plans and amicably inclusive policies to ensure sustainable economy and deployment of prodigious workforce for developmental projects throughout the country, and tourism industry should be the core part of all types of economy-sought activities.


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