The visit Pokhara year 2007 (VPY-07) campaign has certainly brought the charm in the faces of the tourism entrepreneurs in Pokhara. These days Pokhara is heavily populated with tourists and travelers indulging themselves to the beauty and scenery of Pokhara. Perhaps, the cease-fire news has given the travelers to rethink their destination. Apart from that, this tourist hub is also adapting to the norms and themes of arrivals creating favorable and lucrative environment of the real Nepal. However, looking back to the last year and comparing it with this year, the tourism industry is quite busy in attending the arrivals. In-fact the current years campaign of VPY-07 has certainly played a role in creating favorable milieu for the hub.
Basudev Tripathi, Coordinator of the VPY-07 said, "This year the favorable situation of cease-fire and the initiation of the VPY-07 campaign has really paid off. Though we had limited time of two-three months for preparation but still the numbers of arrivals has increased which has certainly put smiles to the face of entrepreneurs. Currently, we are focusing more towards individual promotional activities with both the inbound and outbound tourists. We knowledge them with brief introduction of Pokhara and provided them with necessary pamphlets, maps, and posters so that they can promote Pokhara in their place."
Looking at the inflow, he suggested, "We lack coordinating effort in-between the government and association, which should be sorted out. Apart from that, the city-centered mentality needs to change. As more than 60% of our country is located in rural areas where the lack of infrastructures impedes us. Therefore, we need to reach the unreachable with proper resources and infrastructures rather than to limit everything in the cities."
He opined that, "For any campaign to be successful it needs strategic planning and enough preparation time. Though this year due to situation and time constrain our campaign was rushed and we had limited time for preparation but still the campaign is running well. Now, this should be noticed that we need enough preparation time, so in future, if we are declaring a campaign next year the work should start from this year. Apart from that, we should first be prepared. We need to provide them with enough air seats, feasibility of accommodations and fooding service, communication and infrastructures, effective and prompt rescue services etc. After equipped with such tool, then we can handle a tourist and he or she would be interested in spending more money."
Pokhara has received a remarkable number of both domestic and foreign tourists from its beginning in January, however the entrepreneurs have complained about the lack of proper infrastructure and the much awaited airport are the primary issues of VPY-07.
Sundar Shrestha, President of Pokhara Tourism Council (PTC) said, "The first foremost important thing for tourism industry is better promotion. We need to promote Nepal with more significant campaign and packages. Though presently we have finished our budget and have already received a new budget but still, we primarily are focusing toward promotion specifically targeting the boundary region."
"Pokhara is the prime destination for holiday and adventure so at first we should be able to provide them with necessary services and facility. The government should facilitate and promote Pokhara in ways where its tourism industry can be acquainted and benefited. Perhaps, the need of international airport has become a prime compulsion for the proper development of tourism in Pokhara. We definitely need an international airport which need to be address at higher priority," added he.
Laxmi Bahadur Bhattrai, Regional Hotel Association of Pokhara (RHAP) said, " The VPY-07 campaign is an opportunity where to some extent, we have been able to achieve the target. However, regarding its operation we need to improve a lot where problems like lack of preparation time, lack of effective promotion and lack of the infrastructure (Airport) needs to be recognized and adapted in future. The necessity of any campaign is promotion and the way we target the Nepali media (Kantipur TV) was less effective and was a limited approach. Perhaps instead of that if we had promoted our campaign in foreign or Indian channel then it would have been more effective."
He opined, "We need a travel desk in every embassy of Nepal, which would help to promote our destination. Apart from that, currently we are planning to publish an information book which would incorporate all the related information about the place, industry and agencies needed by a tourists."
Although, the VPY-07 is walking its way to its end, but with the rapid growth from the first week of October, this campaign is creating opportunities for people living in the place and the surrounding. Moreover, the problems like Maoist extortion and security issues are some of the realities where the industry, entrepreneurs and the arrivals are hindering the pace. Perhaps, the significant impact of such acts cannot be weighted to the loss of the country’s image.
By Shreedeep Rayamajhi