Nepal is heading back with its optimism in the tourism sector with a bold step by Nepali government declaring 2018 “Visit Nepal Year”, with the expressed goal of attracting 1 million visitors. Over the past few years, a string of unfortunate accidents, the tourism sector in Nepal had taken a dramatic hit. Reports indicate the fall off by as much as 50 percent, or more causing some locally owed trekking and climbing companies to close their doors. But, with the 2016 spring climbing and trekking season in the Himalaya that went off with more than 550 summits occurring on Everest in the final weeks of May, there is a glimmer of hope. While reports indicate that the number of foreign visitors is still down from previous years, travelers have started to return in small, but steadily increasing numbers.
A new program outlined by President Bidya Devi Bhandari aimed to attract travelers back in larger numbers during the 2016/2017 season with the hope that the program will begin to bear fruit in 2018 when the travel sector expects to fully rebound from the hardships of the past few years. Beyond that, he is working on a 10-year plan for Nepali tourism that will chart the course for future. That plan will not only include ways to lure more visitors from surrounding countries but other parts of the world as well. The government also hopes to invest in improving local infrastructure as well, making it easier for climbers and trekkers to obtain permits, improving weather forecasting for remote areas, building rescue centers in the Everest and Annapurna regions, and more. The plan would also facilitate the repair of World Heritage Sites damaged in the earthquake, as well as the construction of new museums and other cultural and religious monuments.
Part of the plan for making Nepal more appealing to travelers is to improve the safety of air travel there as well. On top of that, the President hopes to improve the facilities at the Tribhuwan International Airport in Kathmandu, as well as break ground on new airports in some of the more popular tourist regions of the county.