By Rup Narayan Dhakal : Lucknow—Indian tourism entrepreneurs and journalists have accused the Nepali concern sides of harassing the Indian drivers during the accident of Indian tourist carrying vehicles if they accidentally hit another vehicles while travelling in Nepal.
The Indian sides raised the issue of security of Indian tourist carrying vehicle-drivers as well as the Indian tourists travelling to Nepal, during a Chaliye Pokhara Campaign (Let’s go to Pokhara) that was launched from June 30 to July 4 in northern Indian cities- Patna, Lucknow and Gorakhpur.
Indian side also complained that the Nepal-bound Indian tourist carrying vehicles and travelling tourist on that vehicles have been facing the several problems in Nepal-Indian customs points for years. Indian entrepreneurs also sought some of the representatives from Nepal Tourism Board (NTB) or from Nepali tourism organizations to back the Indian drivers in the case of accident in Nepal. The provision of a hunting number was also demanded from Indian sides. They also demanded to behave Indian tourists like tourists from European countires.
Business to Business (B2B) meetings, press meets, documentary show of Pokhara and distribution of promotion materials were the part of Chaliye Pokhara Campaign that was contained 30 members from hotel side including media of Pokhara, informed organizer Western Regional Hotel Association Pokhara (WRHA) Chairman Bikal Tulachan. NTB officer and entrepreneur from Lumbini region were also included in the campaign.
Speaking in a program organized in Patna, BJP’s UP spokesperson Rakesh Tripathi and UP Travel and Transport Association Chairman Sushil Tiwari said that the Indian tourists don’t need visa and passport to travel to Nepal is a very good provision. They also claimed that they feel Nepal as like their hometown when they visit Nepal.
The direct tourist bus service from Birgunj to Pokhara, direct flights from Patna to Pokhara or Kathmandu, such direct flight from Lucknow to Pokhara or Gorakhpur to Pokhara and Muktinath were suggested by Indian entrepreneurs and journalists during the interactions organized during the campaign. Patna base tourism entrepreneur Sanjay Sharma and another entrepreneur from Gorakhpur Atul Kesharwani had put above mentioned suggestions.
Indian entrepreneurs also cautioned Nepali entrepreneurs that Indian tourists have diverted to Thailand instead to visit to Pokhara as the road and air connectivity to Pokhara from northern Indian parts are not available and the Mugling-Narayangadh road section is also creating hurdles due to the upgrading activities. So, the direct flight from Bhairahawa to Pokhara also was the issue of the Indian entrepreneurs. The Siddhartha Highway is narrow and snaking that takes the long time to reach Pokhara was also another issue from Indian entrepreneurs and journalists.
Bihar Tourism Corporation Patna’s PRO Gajendra Singh suggested Nepali entrepreneurs to establish an information center in Patana targeting Indian tourists. Indian Tourist Bureau Patna Director Amithav Mishra suggested Nepali sides to solve the issue of connectivity as soon as possible.
WRHA Pokhara had launched Chaliye Pokhara Campaign six year before to lure Indian tourists to Nepal. This time the campaign was promoted by NTB. WRHA Pokhara advisor Hari Prasad Sharma, WRHA Pokhara advisor and HAN central member Biplab Paudel, NTB Pokhara senior officer Surya Thapaliya and Pokhara Tourism Council former Chairman Surya Bhujel were also present during the campaign.