KATHMANDU, Sept. 28 (Xinhua) -- As the world come together celebrating World Tourism Day (WTD) with the theme of "Tourism and Biodiversity" on Monday, Nepal racked up its efforts in its mission to attract 1 million tourists next year as the much awaited Nepal Tourism Year 2011 (NTY-2011) nears.
According to Tuesday's eKantipur.com report, the growing number of hotels, increased hotel and international airlines bookings and rising number of international visitors in 2010 are positive indications that the country is likely to receive more tourists than ever.
However, doubts persist among the government authorities and travel trade entrepreneurs as to whether the country would achieve the target of bringing 1 million tourists at a time when the country is reeling under political uncertainty and the shaky peace process.
The ambitious campaign was launched with the hope of attracting at least a million foreign tourists under the public-private- partnership and give a major boost to the country's economy at a time when the country faces slackened tourism.
Minister for Tourism and Civil Aviation Sharat Singh Bhandari is hopeful that the tourism year will give the desired boost to the country's economy. "Even if the target is not met, the campaign will be a key driver in establishing Nepal as a prime destination," he said at a WTD program on Monday.
There will be two major happenings on Jan. 14, 2011 -- the campaign is slated to be inaugurated the day the Unified Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist)'s People's Liberation Army is integrated and United Nations Mission in Nepal has been scheduled to go out the same day. "This will be a major achievement in leading the country towards economic prosperity," said Bhandari while addressing the 31st WTD.
Travel trade entrepreneurs said that they are fully ready to accommodate the numbers of targeted tourists. However, on the other hand, they are still skeptical about the level of international promotion due to budget constraints.
The Ministry of Tourism and the Nepal Tourism Board, as the two main responsible government agencies spearheading the preparation, are being blamed for not doing enough as per the ambitious target set for the Indian and Chinese markets. Nepal has targeted 265,000 visitors from India and 100,000 from China during NTY 2011.