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Peace And Nepal's Largely Tourism-Based Economy

Peace And Nepal's Largely Tourism-Based Economy

By Kamala Sarup

MAOIST recently rejected the latest offer and deadline set by the Government for peace talks to end a bloody revolt which has killed thousands of people. Prachanda said, that the government had not created a favourable atmosphere for negotiations, had no political basis, and only complicated chances of a dialogue. Prachanda demanded "dependable international mediation" for peace talks.

He added: "Any talk of parliamentary elections in this situation will only push the country deeper into crisis. Without elections to a constituent assembly (to frame a new constitution) we don`t see possibilities of moving ahead." In his statement, Prachand reiterated his previous position that the rebels are prepared to hold peace talks only under international mediation and provided constituent assembly elections are held in a free and peaceful atmosphere.

Violence has continued unabated since peace talks between the Maoists and the government failed last year. The government announced on Thursday that it was giving the rebels 50 days to come to the peace table adding they would miss their last chance to discuss their demands for ending their long-running insurgency.

Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba said Thursday the government would go ahead with planned general elections if the rebels refused to come to the talks table, but set no date for polls/

Maoists war has affected our tourism bussiness.

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Today, Nepal is suffering from severe problems with tourism a major victim. We have failed on the tourism-marketing front, with the result that we have been trying to sell Nepal without a proper focus. The violence in Nepal and its extensive coverage in the foreign media have hit foreign tourist arrivals to the country. We must get into action now, if we are to make tourism an instrument of economic change. The economic decline during the last year and a half has been painful for all Nepalese. Political violence, have weakened Nepal's largely tourism-based economy, but with the recent peace talks, many hope that the chaos will end soon.

Nepalese are hospitable and regard tourists as their guests. Nepal's unique history is intermingled within a framework of tolerance, peace and humanity. The national characteristics of the Nepalese people are an important element in making Nepal a unique tourist destination. Tourism in Nepal can only flourish if there is safety and stability. Nepalese people should know that peace and stability would not only pave the way for tourists to come to Nepal, efforts to attract investors and tourists would be futile if there is no peace and order. The guaranteed security and political stability will be the key to the good prospect for tourism industry in Nepal.

Nepalese people can not forget how depressed economic opportunity reduces Nepalese interests in stability, increasing the risk of violence? How continuance of violence activity began to affect both seasoned vacationers and business travelers? How development has not been able to reach many remote and inaccessible areas of the mountains? How tourist arrival in Nepal has declined to some extent due to the increment of the price of trekking permits? How one of the major challenges facing the industry is the need for a professional and skilled work force to meet the existing and emerging needs of the tourism sector? Tourism has a great influence on the Nepalese economy but when it goes down, it has an impact on other businesses.

We should not forget if greater facilities are offered to bring tourists into the country, the flow of investment also increases so safety awareness campaigns should be conducted, distribution network should be increased. There is an urgent need to follow an 'open sky policy'. Encourage international airlines and hotel chains, to set up shop in Nepal by providing them with land, price and tax concessions. There needs to be a more proactive marketing approach to attracting tourists.

Security will be a major issue in the development of the tourism industry in Nepal. The government's commitment to maintaining security in the country is seen as an important indicator for the progress or decline of tourism industry. If the country's major foreign exchange earner is to be saved, then peace and security have to prevail. A lot of work needs to be done, and it is vital that all groups in Nepal do everything they can to end the pain and suffering this conflict has caused.

We know that there is a strong link between tourism and peace. The tourism industry brings about peace because it promotes and supports the belief that every traveler is a potential 'ambassador for peace'. Peace can not be achieved by just saying it. It can also be a vehicle for economic and social development. Recognising the importance of tourism as a significant industry in the promotion of economic benefits and social unity.

Although tourism is important to Nepal's economy, we need more international financial aid as well as technical assistance. The existing rules and regulations need to be re-looked into and supportive legal framework has to be developed for the success of eco-tourism in Nepal.

Even Nepal's tourism is affected because tourism in India, the Gulf and Far East are affected. We know that the decline in third country tourists is a result of the global tourism downturn, especially followed by an increasing threat of SARS effect. Number of tourists from the third countries recorded a decline in Nepal because of the high cost of marketing in the international market. Several issues have been raised for the development of the tourism sector, but the implementation aspect of the recommendations is too poor in Nepal, so long run planning is required for the revival of the tourism business.

There is immense potential for tourism development in Nepal. However, a lot is still to be done. The situation can definitely be improved if certain steps are taken. Facilities such as clean drinking water, sanitation, good transportation system, construction of good roadways are prerequisites to attract tourists. We should not forget low tourist arrivals result in low occupancy rate and low consumption, and also reveals low production and low economic activity.


(Kamala Sarup is editor to )

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