The Nepali tourism fraternity celebrated 35th World Tourism Day (WTD) by organizing different programs on Saturday.
The theme for this year’s celebration was ‘Tourism and Community Development’.
A rally was taken out from Tridevi Marg in Thamel early on Saturday morning. The rally saw participation of Tourism secretary Suresh Man Shrestha and other high level officials of the tourism ministry, officials of Nepal Tourism Board (NTB), travel trade entrepreneurs, representatives of different travel trade associations, and media persons, among others.
The rally started from Tridevi Marg and passed through Durbarmarg, Bhadrakali Temple, Shahid Gate before converging into a corner meet at Basantapur.
Speaking at the program, Secretary Shrestha said tourism can empower local communities and can boost the industry “But it is necessary to explore and promote new tourism products and services,” he added. He also told tourism entrepreneurs that the government was committed to resolve ongoing problems at NTB.
Daily activities of NTB were hampered for nearly two months in April-May due to protest by the Joint Tourism Coordination Committee (JTCC) against alleged financial irregularities in NTB.
To celebrate the day, different tourism service providers announced special offers for foreign tourists. The offers ranged from free stay in hotels, to discount in restaurants, free city tour and free river rafting, among others.
Alleged financial irregularities at NTB have seriously hampered its performance and the government’s failure to sort out the issue has soured the relationship of the private sector with NTB.
“Each time we travel, use local transport at a destination or buy products from a local market we are contributing to a long value chain that creates jobs, provides livelihoods, empowers local communities, and ultimately brings in new opportunities for a better future,” said Taleb Rifai, secretary-general of the United Nations World Tourism Organization of the United Nations (UNWTO) said in his message. “As we approach the 2015 deadline for the United Nations Millennium Development Goals and prepare to embrace the new sustainable development goals, this year’s WTD represents an opportunity to further advance tourism’s contribution to economic, social and environmental sustainability.”
Tourists were welcomed with cultural procession in Pokhara, Kakarvitta, Gaddhachauki and Kanchanpur by tourism stakeholders. Programs to celebrate the day were organized all over the country.