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Nepal, the birthplace of Lord Buddha, home to the Gurkhas and the country of Himalayas is an inviting place for those seeking respite from their everyday life. Naturally exotic with deep valleys and lush jungles, beautiful mountain ranges, and diverse culture, Nepal is the place to head for adventure and experience. Since, it first opened its doors to foreigners in 1949, Nepal has been welcoming more than thousands of guests every year. This year is even more special as 2011 has been marked the Nepal Tourism Year. The target to attract 1 million tourists was set for the year and the response and the number of tourist arrivals has been positive.

Rising from near sea level to 8,848 meters high in altitude, this tiny federal-republic nation has been described as ‘the last paradise.’ A subtle beauty in its own right, Nepal has a lot to offer to both foreigners and locals. Even with a small area of 1, 47,181, square kilometers, it is amazing to see the variety of culture and scenic beauty that is present in the country. A visit to any nook and cranny of the country is bound to be adventurous, and a novel experience. The rich cultural heritage of Nepalis is displayed through its people, architecture and traditions. Due to difference in topography, the lifestyle of people is also different in the north and the south of the country. This has resulted in a diverse culture; a culture that has been knotted together by many different types. You get to experience unique culture as you move around the country.

Nepali people believe in a Sanskrit saying “Atithi Devo Bhava” (meaning guests are like Gods) and abide by it. This is evident in the hospitality of the Nepalis. Warm and helpful, the people of Nepal welcome each guest in their country and treat them like their own. Different historical monuments, temples and architecture further highlight Nepal’s rich culture. Temples and palaces which date back to 10 AD are still found in the country. Magnificent Buddhist stupas and Pagoda styled temples speak of the finesse of Nepali architects.

Trekking is extremely popular and with the rise in popularity, more and more trekking routes are being opened. Upper Mustang trek allows a foreigner to see up-close the real beauty of Nepal. The region still remains underdeveloped and isolated. There’s a lot to do in this country. From paragliding to bungy jumping from one of the highest fall in the world, to going for a safari in jungle and bathing elephants, to rafting and kayaking, Nepal doesn’t disappoint.

The best time to travel to Nepal is October to January or February to April. October to November is also the time of Nepal’s most important festival (Dashain and Tihar) and thus, the festive mood will make the country even brighter and more fun. May to June is also good time to visit though the weather is a little hot. So, do visit Nepal for its beauty; for its people and most importantly for one in a lifetime experience.

 
DESTINATION NEPAL - PERENNIAL UNDERACHIEVER PDF  | Print |  E-mail

Not sure if one should rejoice on the announcement of Nepal Tourism Board’s plan to pull in 1million foreign visitors to Nepal or despair in the thought that a country with such a massive potential has to employ all its effort and designate a particular year to achieve such a number.


For a country like Nepal, 1 million tourists visiting the country each year should be a regular affair. Over 20% of the world’s population of 6.7 billion people with per capita income of $6500 lives to our north and have a deep cultural, social and political relation to this land. Chinese travelers are surpassing other nationals as top visitors in number of popular destinations like France, Japan, Switzerland and many other countries that have benefited a great deal.  Over half a million Chinese visited France last year and contributed over 160 million Euros in the process to the French economy. In the case of Japan, it is expected that over 1.2 million Chinese will have visited the country and the year’s end, placing them on the top of the list of visitors.


What about the Indians? They are going through economic prosperity, too.  As per the statistics, Indians too are traveling abroad in an increasing number. And although Indians constitute the biggest number of travelers to Nepal overall, the actual number leaves much to be desired for.


Nepal should be able to attract 1 million visitors each year from China and India alone. These two countries have the largest middle class population in the world, and they are experiencing increase in their spending power with each successive year. And since Nepal is comparatively inexpensive place for travel and, given the geography, it is ideally “positioned” to be the favorite destination for that humongous populace.


Something needs to be done.


Hmmm- Food for thought?

 
PAYPAL NEPAL

Not sure how much the concerned parties have thought about it, but it is certain that the unavailability of international e-payment systems like paypal in Nepal is definitely holding back a substantial number of potential visitors to the country, who would otherwise be wiling to buy travel packages online only if they didn’t have to give away their credit card numbers to an unknown vendors in the third-world country.


Most Nepali tourism entrepreneurs seems to be content with accepting either VISA or Mastercard payment on their website, completely unaware of the fact that people are very skeptical of making purchases through the internet if it entails disclosing their credit card numbers.  As a matter of fact, this is probably the single-most reason why companies like Paypal has come into existence and has been at the fore worldwide when it comes to paying online. Paypal’s feature that hides the credit card numbers of the holders when making purchases online makes it ideal for users to indulge in online purchases, which has subsequently changed how business is done online in recent times. Had it not been for the e-payment system, the internet wouldn’t see such a rise in online transactions like we have been experiencing today.

A travel vendor in Nepal can increase his business by a single action of providing a Paypal feature on their site.  And they will be surprised to know how much they are missing out on with such a simple lapse.

A small oversight indeed, but something that has surely cost millions in lost income to the tourism industry and the economy.  Therefore, Nepalis involved in the tourism business should be a little more practical in this regard. They are probably the most aware group of professionals in country on this particular subject but the complacency is puzzling.


The matter has to be taken up by the concerned Nepali tourism authority if they hope to make any significant achievement, as an individual effort is not likely to yield any result; as it is most certain, the issue has to be taken up at the highest government level.

 
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