How Nepal is going to attract 1.5m tourists by 2020

Nepal

A Hindu Guru sits meditating in Nepal. Source: Ashes Sitoula / Unsplash

THE LANDLOCKED Himalayan nation of Nepal is known for its mountain peaks, delicious food and home to the Yeti, among many other cultural wonders.

The Nepalese Tourism Ministry has announced plans to entice 1.5 million tourists in 2020, with one-third of them coming from China.

The first tourism campaign was launched back in 1998 with Visit Nepal Year. Then in 2011, Nepal Tourism Year was launched to attract more visitors.

2018 is set to follow suit with Visit Nepal Year yet again, and they are very much on track to hit their 2020 figure, as 2017 saw 940,218 foreign visitors enter the country.

“China and India are two largest source markets for Nepal. But, there is still huge scope for more tourist arrivals from these two neighbors,” Krishna Prasad Devkota, secretary at the Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation told Xinhu.

“So, our main focus of promotional activities will be China and India for Visit Nepal Year,” he added.

In preparation for Visit Nepal Year, the nation is working closely with tourism boards from China and India to encourage travelers.

On top of this, they have promised to keep Nepal’s only international airport in Kathmandu open for 20 hours a day which is an additional three hours to its current opening times.

Tourism boards, numbers, and statistics aside, why is Nepal worth a visit?

Let’s start with the incredible natural beauty. Mount Everest creeps inside Nepal’s borders and thousands of people from around the world flock here to climb to Everest’s base camp.

The trek is arduous but so worth the challenge, if not for self-fulfillment, then certainly for the pictures.

Not many people are aware of Nepal’s wildlife. Nepal has a huge variety of bird species and is home to crocodiles, rhinos, deer, and even the elusive Bengal Tiger.

The clouded leopard also lives high up in the mountain tops and was thought to be extinct up until a few years ago when it was spotted prowling.

Some say Nepal is the king of Unesco World Heritage Sites and they aren’t wrong.

In Kathmandu Valley alone, there are seven sites that all boast stunning beauty and cultural curiosity.

Head to Hindu temple of god Shiva on the banks of the Bagmati River to see a network of buildings all dedicated to worship.

Smell the beautiful incense and admire those who have maintained this wondrous place.

Nepal is also super affordable for those traveling on a budget. Hotels can be a little as US$20 and guesthouses even cheaper at around US$5.

You can stroll around on your own, taking in the sites or booking an equally as cheap tour to discover inside knowledge and secrets about this holy land.

If you’re a real foodie and often find yourself traveling where your stomach tells you to, then you’ll be in for a treat in Nepal.

Nepal is home to many different ethnicities, which means the food is a combination of traditional and infused flavors.

With its neighbors being China and India, Nepal has its own versions of divine dumplings and delicious curries.

Notably, Dhal bhat, a traditional meal of lentil or chicken curry boiled rice with vegetables, pickles, and roti.

And then there are the fluffy stuffed momos which are Nepal’s take on Chinese dumplings.

Now you have a snippet of what the delightful nation has to offer, will you be participating this Visit Nepal Year?