In spite of the difficulties created by the prolonged political instability, international tourist arrival to Nepal has been steadily increasing over the last 40 years. Compare the total tourist arrival to Nepal by air in 1972 (42,484) to the same figure in 2012 (598,200). This has been influenced by the growth in arrival of international tourists from every corner of the globe. UN World Tourism Organization has reported that international tourist arrivals grew by 4 percent in 2012, to reach 1.03 billion, and Asia and Pacific were the best performers. Reviewing the global and regional trends in tourism arrival, it is clear that Nepal could be a major tourist destination in South Asia with the vast tourism opportunities it provides. However, Nepal, at present, does not have a vision or a Master Plan with which to tap the growing global tourism market.
The political parties of Nepal have a love-hate relationship with India. When in opposition, the parties are against India and its policy towards Nepal, but their stance changes once they are in government or are trying to enter a government. The about-turn the Maoist party took from an anti-Indian stance when they had to garner Nepali people’s support, to their pro-Indian status now when they are in power, illustrates the phenomenon. Every political leader and party of Nepal, either overtly or covertly, wants to have a good relationship with India because of the influence that India has over Nepal. As for India, it has always been criticized, even by Indian intellectual and academicians, for playing the ‘big-brother’ role in Nepali affairs. In short, India’s role in Nepal is criticized as ‘hegemonic’ and Nepal’s condition is often labeled ‘over dependent on India’.
Ahead of the new Constituent Assembly polls scheduled for November, political parties are preparing for the crucial vote in different ways. Some of these are clearly publicity stunts, while a few are genuine initiatives to lay the ground for polls. Time is ripe for parties to finalize their policies on major issues like system of governance and federal model, in what will be real election campaigning rather than mere posturing. This is an imperative. Lack of conceptual clarity on fundamental features of the constitution was one of the factors that led to the failure of the old CA. In the reckoning of many people, CPN-UML typifies the culture of indecision and ambiguity in Nepali politics. Other parties, especially UCPN (Maoist), have been quick to capitalize on UML’s perceived weaknesses, and have successfully lured capable UML leaders into their folds. UCPN (Maoist) Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal has made it clear that UML is his ‘hunting ground’ for consolidating Maoist party base ahead of the elections.
The news of an unauthorized live video call from the top of Mt Everest is yet another manifestation of the age-old friction between human extensions in the form of new technologies and the equally time-worn barriers—human and natural—to overcoming space through such media.
On Sunday evening, a summiteer live-videoed BBC via his smartphone. As the saying goes, everything has its own time and place, and now the climber Daniel Thomas Hughes, who described being there as “a very proud moment” is happy that he has defined his day and place.
But his conquest of wilderness, and of distance via the latest technology, has become an annoying incident for our government. Ministry of Information and Communication (MoIC) officials have revealed that the expedition was authorized only to carry walkie-talkies, and had not been granted government permit to film Mt. Everest. The public broadcast from the summit has drawn “serious attention” of officials, who have warned of “necessary action” (myrepublica.com, May 20).