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Atithi Devo Bhavah (Guest’s are God)

By Suresh Mukhiya
Author: Suresh Mukhiya
Email: ssureshmukhiya@gmail.com
Mobile: 9819939306

Last Friday we all witnessed 33rd World Tourism Day which was celebrated for the first time in September 27, 1980 by The United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) because that date had once coincided with an important milestone in world tourism i.e. the anniversary of the adoption of the UNWTO Statutes on September 27, 1970. And viewing all the activities and announcements of Nepal Tourism Board throughout the day, I too remembered an incident and thought to share this experience with you all.

Actually while I was in college in 2008, on a very fine day, I along with some of my college friends had gone to Thamel (one of the most highlighted tourist destination of Kathmandu, Nepal). There I had viewed a scenario which was absolutely strange for me at that time but normal for now, may be it was my first encounter with the external world like that. Anyways a shopkeeper of an art-craft shop was very confidently demanding the price which was 5th times more than its real price and those customers were happily paying the price. I can say this because just some minutes before I too had asked the price of that crafted mug and had knew the real price. Later that scholar shopkeeper had very intelligently cleared my confusion and made me understand the whole story, those customers were tourists and they don’t have any idea about the price of things in Nepal. I am still confused, was that the only reason behind their unequal treatment with the customer? This may be very innocent question but at the same time it’s a significant query as well.

To Say we have solely adopted the Sanskrit verse “Atithi Devo Bhavah (Guests are God)” but when it comes to respect in real world, we have been witnessing people violating its actual meaning with fraud act with them. Each tourist services affiliated to the Nepal Tourism Board(NTB) has a sort of oath or say commitment like if any tourist will face any type of difficulties then they will be available for their assistance but is that possible for any tourist to complain till they don’t know the actual problem. As officially there isn’t any procedure through which tourists can have particular information about the price of goods in local market. Some says, “Tourism Board of Nepal has maintained the facility of tourist guide to solve such error”. But you won’t believe, those tourist guides have some sorts of setting or say commission fixation for bringing the tourist up to those shops to make them pay high price avoiding the fact that if this system will get prevailing then after some years that illegal price will become the real market price. In this way, no doubt it will invite recession and only we Nepalese have to face it.

This isn’t any hidden fact that because of Nepal’s heart throbbing attributes, tourism is the largest industry as well as the source of foreign exchange and revenue for Nepal. Large sections of our country are found to be involved on tourism. It’s the main source of economic sustenance after agriculture as it has given employment to 42% of the total working population of Nepal.

According to revenue statistics published by The Ministry of Tourism and Civil Aviation of Nepal in July 2009, the total gross foreign exchange earnings in convertible currency from tourism earnings in 2008 was 351,968,000(US dollars) a remarkable increase of 52.6% compared to the earning in 2007. If revenue statistic is to believe, Nepalese tourism had earned US $368.773 million or Rs 32.45224 billion in 2011 and has witnessed decrement of 3.3% i.e. US $356,725 million or Rs 31.3918 billion during the year 2012 which is a direct alarm that we have started to lack the expectation through dull hospitality system .

I had read in newspaper, The World Travel and Tourism Council(WTTC) report has projected that the travel trade sector’s contribution to the country’s total employment will rise by 7 percent in 2013 and also Nepal is expected to attract 946,000 international tourists in 2013. But WTTC is unaware that if such type of money minded tourist guides will be given employment and several precautions shouldn’t be taken at time then expected tourist’s arrival won’t be possible.

Government should hardly step up some measures to monitor this basic mismanagement in tourism industry and adopt some security so that not even a single tourist will depart with disappointments from Nepal. Otherwise that day won’t be far when there will be dual price system of a same commodity, one for those tourist and next for Nepalese and later because of those tourist’s high purchasing capacity, Nepalese citizen will be untouched with our own production and will start to depend upon imports which will indirectly affect the Nation as well.
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