On November 26, 2019 Pokhara Research Centre participated in a ‘Panel Discussion Session” entitled “Mountain tourism Issues- Creating Vibes in Mountain Tourism” as a “Knowledge Partner”. The program was organised jointly by Janapriya Multiple Campus, Bachelor of Mountain Tourism (BMTM) Program, Nepal Tourism Board Gandaki Provinve and Pokhara Tourism Counil. The program was separated into two sessions. Session I– “To`urism Policy 2008- Retrospective Assessment & Way Forward” and Session II– “Studying Mountain Tourism in Nepal”. Where our two executive members moderated the session. The discussion featured representatives from Government of Nepal, local tourism Industry, tourism associations heads, tourism intellectuals, Freelance tourism researchers, students, and the media, interacting on what tourism policy inherits, prospects of tourism education in Nepal as provisioned by the policy and tourism education program respectively.
Nepal government has given utmost priority to the tourism sector. Similarly, Gandaki Province, has declared that tourism will be one among the seven key drivers of prosperity. The province is celebrating “Visit Tourism Year 2019-2022, with the aim of attracting 2 million tourists in the province.
Session I- “Tourism Policy 2008- Retrospective Assessment & Way Forward”
Associate Prof. Dr. Prakash Udadhya, Tribhuwan university talked about mission of mountaineering issues in Nepal’s Tourism policy which is necessary to be incorporated in the present context of Nepal. Since Nepal was popular to the outer world and tourism in Nepal started with the climbing of Mt. Annapurna in 1950’s and later Mt.Everest. Though the major travel tourism aspect of Nepal is concerned with mountain tourism but Tourism policy of 2008 hugely misses the aspects of mountain tourism which is outmost necessary.
Mr. Tikaram Sapkota,Executive member, Visit Nepal 2020 Talked about lack of diversification in Tourism related business as well as leisure engagements which are necessary to extend the length tourist stay and increase their expenditure per day. Connectivity is the major issue for tourist around the world on which Gandaki state is improving so it needs more series and activities where tourists can spend their time.
Mr. Surya Thapaliya, Manager, NTB shared about the history of formation of NTB and talked about need of public private partnership where NTB is one of the most efficient, vibrant as well as success model of Nepal’s Public Private Partnership. The joint effort has made some remarkable progress for the tourism sector of Nepal.
The conclusion of the discussion on tourism policy was that in the new context of federal Nepal, with the coordination of local, state and federal government is necessary in the context of policy formation. Tourism is one of the key drivers of the economy of Nepal and it is deemed necessary for the updating the 11 years old policy in new structure of the government. There is necessary of coordination and cooperation between the different layers of the government according to the heart of constitution of Nepal.
Session II- “Studying Mountain Tourism in Nepal”.
Asst. Campus Chief, Janapriya Multiple Campus talked about importance of studying mountain tourism in Nepal, challenges they faced during the operation of the BMTM program. Since Nepal has a long history of tourism. Its resources are in lined with the mountain tourism activities this unique program shall be reengineering the tourism academic sector, producing quality human resource. He opined that the program will be the foundation of tourism academic sector in Gandaki Province.
Mr. Dilli Prasad Gautam- General Secretary- Pokhara Tourism Council representing the private sector talked about the opportunities the students can grab in the tourism field. He gave some suggestion to the students on career on tourism and shared his experience created due to lack of tourism education during his earlier days of tourism career. Creativity and skill are the two major tools students need to accelerate in this competitive world said Mr. Gautam.
Similarly, Mr. Gopal Bhandari, Officer NTB shared about the role government played in promoting tourism education in Nepal. And opportunities students can ponder in the government sector by studying tourism education. He talked on the overall human resource produced in the country in the tourism sector by the government and emphasized that it is very less in comparisons to the actual need of the market.
Students actively participated in the question answer at the end of the session regarding the help government and private sector may provide in their future events. There queries were unraveled by the panelist.