Marketing Strategy and Performance of Tourism Industries in Nepal
Nepal is a small land-locked county, surrounded by the Tibetan region of China on the north and India on the rest, with a total population of 28.6 million in 2009 (World Development Indicators Data Base, January 2010), but is one of the growing tourism destinations in Asia. The number of foreign tourists increased greatly from a mere 6179 in 1962 to 176,634 in 1984, 491,504 in 1999, 361,237 in 2001, and 385,297 in 2004 (NTS, 2004: p. 21). Although there was a starting of Maoist insurgency from the second half of 1990s and political instabilities the country nevertheless managed to receive 500,277 foreign visitors in 2008 (NTS, 2008: p. 8). Until 1950, the concept of tourism was unknown to Nepal. Along pilgrimage routes ‘dharam shalas’ were constructed by local people. As measure of the value set in providing services, ‘dharma shalas’ are still built by villagers as projects on remote and lovely spots. The races, like Newars and Sakyas, developed the first kind of hotels (Wake, 1975: p. 20). The model for a village hotel is ‘bhattis’.
The tourism industry is growing very rapidly and Nepal has tremendous potential for tourism development because of its unique natural and cultural heritage. In this context, this tourism policy has been formulated with the aims of increasing national productivity and income; increasing foreign currency earnings; creating employment opportunities; improving regional imbalances and projecting the image of Nepal more assertively in the international arena; through the development and diversification of the travel and tourism industries
Today tourism has become a major enterprise in Nepal. It is an economic backbone of the country and has been priority wise placed at the fourth position in the Ninth Five Year Development Plan (1997-2002) (Kakshapati, 2001: pp.18-19). Thus, the promotion of tourism in the true sense started more or less only after 1950. Prior to 1950, we don’t find any plan, policy regarding tourism in Nepal.
Nepal Tourism Marketing Strategy: (1976-81), is a study done by Joseph-Edward Susnik of Yugoslavia. Government of Nepal, Ministry of Tourism secured the services of Marketing Tourism advisor Joseph Susnik, Director Marketing, KOMPAS, Yugoslavia through bilateral agreement in 1976. He submitted his report ‘Nepal Tourism Marketing Strategy 1976-81’ on 24 March 1977. His main suggestions were: “without substantial increase in the number of international visitors, stay of tourists cannot be prolonged at present; Nepal should become the starting point of any Asian tourist as it is the cradle of a religion and culture that influenced the history and life of the major parts of Asia, built up good image of secondary destinations”.
To elaborate the role of tourism in the changing perspectives of the Nepalese economy, M.K. Dahal (1999) argues, “The agriculture sector instead of playing the role of leading sector remains eventually a lagging sector. Since more than twenty-five years we have invested huge amount of money in agriculture at least, 25 % of our national budget. When we look at the results, it is highly disappointing (Dahal et al., 1999: p. 9). As a result, there is a growing debate among the Nepalese economists about government’s top priority for agriculture sector. So, we have to look for an alternative sector. Tourism can be a perennial source to support to the Nepalese economy compared to agriculture.
Ramesh Chandra Arya (1997) presented important study in Planning Models for Tourism Development with Reference to Nepal. This study has attempted to highlight that traditionally tourism development plans have focused on increasing the number of tourists. It is presented that it would result in increasing earning. However, it has not been so. Different sites have their own attractions. Due to certain advantages of selected sites, it is a natural tendency to develop these....