Tourists visit Patan Durbar Square, a UNESCO World Heritage Site in Lalitpur, Nepal, Oct. 23, 2019. [Photo/Xinhua]
Tourism industry account for more than 1 million jobs and more than Rs 177 billion into the economy of Nepal. But raising concern of COVID-19 is hitting its nerve hard and fast. Without any foreign and internal tourism at the place, Nepal is likely to lose billions of dollars as well as thousands of jobs putting high risk to unemployment.
History of tourism industries and its economic benefits in Nepal:
According to its annual Economic Impact Research report for 2017, tourism accounts for 7.5 percent of Nepal’s GDP and is forecast to rise 4.3 percent annually to Rs287.6 billion, or 8.3 percent of the GDP in 2027. The GDP generated directly by the travel and tourism sector includes its indirect and induced impacts.
The report said that the direct contribution of travel and tourism to the GDP in 2016 was Rs. 85.2 billion, or 3.6 percent. This is forecast to rise by 6.8 percent to Rs. 91 billion in 2017. Nepal is ranked 37th in terms of travel and tourism direct contribution to GDP among 185 countries surveyed.
Nepal trails behind India and Bangladesh but is ahead of Sri Lanka in South Asia in terms of the direct contribution of tourism to the economy. This primarily reflects the economic activity generated by industries such as hotels, travel agencies, airlines, and other passenger transportation services, excluding commuter services. It also includes, for example, the activities of the restaurant and leisure industries directly supported by tourists.
However, recent development in industries is showing positive response when COVID-19 hit its backbone. Many organizations spend millions of rupees for infrastructure but there is no sign that they are going to pay back as the economy will take time to recover from this pandemic although its direct effect gone end soon.
We have seen the direct effect of this pandemic when all the tourism industries closed from Chaitra due to lack of tourists and employees are asked to leave their station but there is no security that they are going to pay by their employer. This raises the main question to us, where is job security in Nepal in case of pandemics and other worldwide emergencies. If those employees are not being paid how they have gone live in this environment. Although the world will free from this social distancing real soon, there is no way tourism industries will back real soon as foreign tourists and internal tourism gone be held back due to many factors and main of them will be financial capabilities.
How our government can help industries?
Although many of us want monetary aid in this case of a crisis, our government cannot help directly with financial aid as our financial capabilities. However, we can promote a sustainable environment to ensure our tourism industries will be safe after this pandemic will over. A report shows us that average Nepali citizens who travel abroad instead of Nepal spend more than average international tourists spend in Nepal and this is a major place from where our tourism industries can fuel back.
Research from world tourism industries shows that average international tourist spends around $500 dollars in their trip in Nepal while Nepali tourist who visits countries like Malaysia, Thailand, Hong Kong, etc. spend well around $850 in a trip. So, the government can help industries to promote internal tourism from where they can generate revenue which they are losing in this pandemic.
Although visit Nepal is officially closed, we need to support internal tourism industries as its home for more than 1 million of Nepalese jobholders whose future is at risk right now due to these worldwide emergencies.