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Accessible Tourism: A Novel Idea for Promoting Tourism in Nepal

25/01/2018 | 0 comments

Wounded hero trip to Nepal, photoA picture from Wounded Hero trek to Nepal. Photo by Pankaj Pradhananga.

Article by Mr. Pankaj Pradhananga & Mr. Suman Timsina, Nepal, re-published with the permission of the authors.

"Needless to say, Accessible Tourism is a very new term in Nepal.  There is no official record about the first International tourist with disability who made it to Nepal. However, the effort of opening up for accessible tourism has already begun though it is still in its infancy . A major challenge for Destination Nepal is lack of accessible infrastructure and absence of enforcing laws in Tourism operating sectors for coming up with accessible Tourism products.  Given the enormous economic and social benefits to be derived from this segment of Tourism, it is high time for the industry to understand and develop Inclusive tourism in the gateway to the Himalaya."

Background of the Article

This article has been produced by the authors as the extended and detail version of the working paper presented on the issues of Accessible Tourism in the National Human Rights Summit of Persons with Disabilities organized by National Federation of the Disabled Nepal in Kathmandu on December 12th and 13th 2016. The article has been written on the basis of the long and proven working experiences and knowledge of the authors in tourism sectors and their involvement for promoting accessible tourism in Nepal for few years back. The article has also incorporated the valuable feedback, sharing of experiences, conclusion and recommendation from the floor of the National Human Rights Summit.

Overview of International Tourism and Nepal

Over the decades, tourism has experienced continued growth and deepening diversification to become one of the fastest growing economic sectors in the world. Modern tourism is closely linked to development and encompasses growing number of new dimension. These dynamics have turned tourism into a key driver for socio-economic progress. Travel and Tourism has become a universal activity in contemporary society. International Tourists arrival crossed one billion mark in 2012. This global spread of tourism in industrialized and developed states has produced ‎economic and employment benefits in many related sectors - from construction to ‎agriculture or telecommunications.‎

Nepal is known as an exotic destination in the Himalayan region with fascinating natural and cultural attractions. The country was opened for International Tourists after the fall of autocratic Rana Regime in 1951.  When Sir Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay Sherpa climbed Mount Everest in 1953, Nepal caught the attention of global travel market as a mystical and adventurous destination. Over 6 decades, Nepal has attracted tourists from across the globe; they come here to enjoy its natural beauty as well as centuries’ old tangible and intangible cultural heritages. Over the years, it has made its presence felt in International outbound market attracting number of segments i.e. Trekkers, adventure seekers, mountaineers, pilgrims (Hindus and Buddhists), wildlife enthusiasts, holidaymakers, MICE etc.

The success story from the 1950s that endures is the growth of the tourism sector in Nepal. 

Tourists' arrival to Nepal have continuously grown (since 1962 as recorded data) except few notable setbacks like the civil unrest for pro-democracy movement in 1990 and the civil unrest led by armed conflict (1996-2006). These events coincided with political instability, frequent demonstrations, banda (general strikes), political processions and growing labor unionism and disputes. Two major events of 2015 was a major setback on Nepal’s economic development and they were earthquake in April and blockade in the south of the border with India.

To read the full article, download the Accessible PDF document from the right-hand column. 

About the Author(s)     

Pankaj Pradhananga

Pankaj PradhanangePankaj is a Director of Four Season Travel & Tours. He comes with an experience of more than 2 decades in Tourism industry with the focus on Responsible / Inclusive Tour operations in Himalayan region. He has been leading the initiatives to develop accessible Tourism in Nepal.

His areas of interest are public speaking, photography and learning new things. He is an active member of Everest Toastmasters Club and also an adjunct faculty of Ace Institute of Management in Kathmandu. He is associated with Hawaii based ICTP (International Coalition of Tourism Partners). He lives in Kathmandu and is originally from Bhadrapur (Jhapa).

Mr. Suman R. Timsina

Suman TimsinaMr. Timsina is an Executive Director, Business Development at Washington, DC based International Development Institute. He led a team of 23 wounded heroes trek to Nepal to observe World Tourism Day in 2016 in collaboration with Four Seasons Travel and Tours, Soarway Foundation and Operation Namaste. His areas of interest have been innovation, entrepreneurship, mentoring, diaspora study, community development, education and health care. He has numerous policy papers on these issues. He lives in Virginia (USA) and is originally from Biratnagar (Nepal). He is also a Past President of NRN USA.



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