The Nepalese government has proposed to India to consider the feasibility of issuing photo Identity cards to the Indian tourists who do not have passport or voter I -card, but intend to travel to Nepal by Air.
The proposal has been given by the Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation of Nepal, on the basis of suggestions from Nepal Tourism Board, which is reviving its focus on tourism so as to increase the inflow of tourists from India, particularly through air route.
``We have requested our government to pursue the matter with the Indian government after which a proposal was given by our ministry to the Indian counterparts more than a week ago, in which it has been suggested that special photo Identity cards be issued to tourists from India '' said Nandini Lahe Thapa, Director Tourism Marketing and Promotion of Nepal Tourism Board, while apprising about the development.
In the proposal it has been suggested that after scrutiny, the government with the help of tourism ministry should issue special photo Identity cards, to the Indian tourists for the purpose of traveling to various places in Nepal.
At present Indian tourists who travel to Nepal are required to have either a passport or a Voter I- card for traveling to Nepal by Air. However the checks are not so strict for those crossing through road transport.
Officials meanwhile claimed that the number of tourists, which had decreased during the years following the Kandhar hijacking incident in 1999, has seen growth during the past couple of years.
In 2000, the number of visitors arriving Nepal by air was barely 376914. Officials claim that the number in the year 2007 has recorded a growth of over 27 per cent as compared to 2006 with arrival figures reaching 3.6 lakh last year.
``We are hopeful that the number would further rise this year and because of this a renewed focus was being given to promote tourism from India, with a special attention on the tourists from the northern states, particularly Punjab,'' said Ujjwala Dali the Manager of NTB.
Officials claim that the beginning of the year 2008 has heralded an optimistic tourism growth in Nepal in 2008. The data released by Immigration Office, shows that arrivals in January has grown by about 13 per cent up by 2985 as compared to the corresponding figures last year.
About renewed focus on tourists from north, she said that special package tours will be offered to the tourists which would include adventurous activities like mountain flights, ultra flight and Jungle safari.
``To start with we will be having a series of road shows in main cities including Chandigarh, Amritsar and Jalandhar, where besides potential tourist spots we would apprise the potential tourists about the convenient means and the new affordable packages, being offered,'' she said.
She added that these shows would begin within next fortnight at these places in which tour and travel operators and others involved with the adventurous sports would also be involved.
``We are hopeful that the ministry of tourism in India would come out with a positive response and help Nepal in promoting tourism in both countries which would help in furthering the tourism related activities in both the countries'', she said.