Govt to bring National Tourism Strategic Plan

The government is all set to launch the 10-year National Tourism Strategic Plan (NTSP) along with a five-year action plan to boost the tourism sector of the country by conducting the required reforms in policies, institutional changes and infrastructure development.

The five-year action plan is focused on achieving the targets of Tourism Vision 2020 that envisaged increasing annual international tourist arrivals to two million by 2020. The Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation (MoCTCA) had unveiled this document in 2009.

As per the draft of the NTSP obtained by The Himalayan Times, the five-year action plan has set a target of increasing the tourism sector’s contribution by six per cent in gross domestic product (GDP) by the end of 2019, which is currently at around three per cent. Income from the tourism sector would stand at $1.24 billion till the end of 2019. The government has planned to spend Rs 6.1 billion to implement the five-year action plan.

“The document we are preparing presents a swot analysis of the opportunities and challenges of the tourism sector,” said Suresh Man Shrestha, secretary of MoCTCA, adding, “We’ve identified a wide range of issues for tourism sector development like branding, marketing, human resources development, natural environment, cultural heritage preservation and infrastructure development, among others.”
Regarding infrastructure development, NTSP envisages attracting investment through public private partnership and build own operate transfer model. Similarly, foreign direct investment (FDI) would be prioritised for tourism related infrastructure development, as per the draft. Apart from infrastructure development, NTSP would stress on institutional management and promotion of quality tourism.
NTSP has set a target to bring 2,147,000 international tourists annually till the end of 2024 and increase the average stay of tourists to 17 days from 10 to 12 days at present. Subsequently, the five-year action plan that mostly focuses on achieving the targets of Vision 2020 would target arrival of 1,340,000 international tourists annually by 2019 and increase the average stay to 15 days.
“Annual flow of tourists is expected to increase by 9.3 per cent per annum after the execution of the five-year action plan,” Shrestha said. It has been reported that arrival of two tourists generates employment for one individual and the tourism sector would be able to generate employment for 1,073,500 people by the end of 2024. Likewise, the country would generate income worth $3.65 billion or equivalent to seven per cent of GDP by 2024.

As per the recent data of World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC), the tourism sector of Nepal has provided direct employment to 553,500 individuals, which is 3.6 per cent of the total employment. In addition, income of tourism sector is equivalent to 38 per cent merchandise export of Nepal.

source:the himalayan times,4 jan 2015