History of Tourism In Nepal
The tourism industry is one of the rapidly growing industry in the world, and same is the case with Nepal.
In the fiscal year, 2063/2064 1.2% of the total GDP was contributed by the tourism industry in Nepal. Likewise, in the year 2014, 1.97% of the total GDP was contributed by the Tourism industry in Nepal.
Tourism is a Goose for Nepal which will lay golden eggs if implemented and planned well.
Ancient History of Tourism In Nepal
The tourism history of Nepal began from the date when Manjushree, a Buddhist monk from Tibet, visited Kathmandu, Nepal. Manjushree is believed to be the first tourist of Nepal. It is believed that he came to Nepal and chopped the Chovar hill, drained all the water out of the valley and made the valley suitable for Living.
Ancient King Ashoka from India came to Lumbini and raised Ashoka Pillar. He later visited Nepal frequently and constructed many monuments of similar types. Such monuments of him hold great historical importance.
During the Malla and Lichhivi period, Nepal got to see golden progress in the tourism industry. The Lichchhavi period started in 400 A.D. Many monuments and buildings of great value were constructed then, which helped and is still helping Nepal to gain enormous popularity. Kailashkut Bhawan, Managriha and Bhadradhiwas Bhawan of great popularity and historical importance were built back in that period.
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The Malla period is also very important in Nepali tourism history. The Mallas ruled over Nepal from around 750-1480 A.D. Plenty of magnificent and eminent pagodas, royal residences and houses reflect the richness of art and architecture during the Malla period.
The marital relations between Princess Bhrikuti, daughter of King Amshuvarma, of Nepal and Srong-sten Gampo, the king of the northern state Lhasa in 592 A.D. gave rise to a strong relationship between Nepal and China. Also, it boosted the China-Nepal tourism relation to the next level.
After that, Nepal was established as the only route to visit China via Lhasa and travel from China to India via Lhasa for a certain period. This marital relationship ended up favouring Nepal to increase visitors from both countries.
Later, with the reign of the Malla kingdom, people from the western countries began coming to Nepal with an aim to spread Christianity. In1737 A.D, King Jaya Prakash Malla gave written permission to Christians for spreading Christianity which increased a lot number of Christian tourists.
The Lichchhavis and the Malla kings brought about total conversion in the customs, tradition and lifestyle of the Nepali people. The present cultures and customs of the Nepali communities and the various festivals celebrated around the year have their origins in the Lichchhavi and the Malla periods.
During those early days of Nepal, Chinese, Tibetan and Indians tourists used to visit Nepal with religious and commercial purposes. Indian tourists were Hindus and were likely to visit similar destinations. They used to visit religious destinations like Pashupatinath, Baraha Kshetra, Muktinath, Gosainkunda, etc.
Likewise, Chinese tourists visited Lumbini.
History Of Tourism In Nepal After Unification
King Prithvi Narayan Shah unified the disseminated states of Nepal into unified Nepal in 1767 A.D. which gave a new dimension and way of tourism in Nepal.
In 1792 Captain Kirk Patric visited Nepal which also helped much to promote Tourism of Nepal. He was a soldier from the British East India Company and was in a mission for collecting data and facts about Nepal. But after leaving Nepal, he wrote a book about Nepal named, “An Account of the Kingdom of Nepal” which helped Nepal a lot to promote its tourism in foreign countries.
Later, the Sugauli treaty was signed in 1816 A.D. between the Nepal Government and the British East India Company which favoured Nepal in the promotion and furtherance of tourism in Nepal.
Dr Wallich, A British Resident, was elected in Kathmandu for developing Nepal’srelationship with British India. This resulted in the regular visit of British personalities to Nepal. Rana Prime Minister Jung Bahadur’s visited Britain in 1850-51 A.D. which again worked amazingly to promote Nepali tourism internationally.
During this time interval, many botanists and naturalists like Sir Brian Hodgson FRS, and Sir JosephHooker FRS visited Nepal, which helped to promote the natural tourism of Nepal worldwide.
During the era of Prime Minister, Bir Shumsher different famous peoples from Europe like Silva Levy and Percival London visited Nepal.
Furthermore, King George V and the Prince of Wales came to Nepal for hunting tigers in the terai forests in 1911 and 1921 respectively which again helped in boosting the popularity of tourism in Nepal.
Later the Rana autocracy affected tourism in Nepal for 104 years. During that period, Nepal was a ‘forbidden land’. Only a few small traders and Indian pilgrims were allowed to enter in Nepal at Rana autocracy.
History of Tourism In Nepal After 1950
After the arrival of popular democracy in 1950, Nepal began to build up the unique parts of social, financial and political life. Since that time, the entryway of Nepal has stayed open to outsiders with the longing to visit Nepal.
After, democracy foreigners were embraced by the Nepal Government by providing them tourist visa. Before, the permits were provided by East India Company under the guidance of the British Government.
Tourism in Nepal after 1950 was popular due to the mountains of Nepal. In fact, all the major mountains of Nepal were scaled during that period.
Mt. Annapurna I, Mt. Everest, Mt. Cho Oyu, Mt. Makalu, Mt. Kanchenjunga, Mt. Manaslu, Mt. Lhotse, and Mt. Dhaulagiri were scaled in 1960 only. So we can say 1950’s as one of the golden periods of tourism in Nepal.
In 1955 Nepal became the member of the United Nations Organization (UNO) which helped Nepal to promote tourism at an international level. In the same year, 1955 world-renowned Thomas Cook and Sons brought a group of 60 tourists for a Nepal travel.
After the triumphant climbing of the highest peak in the world, Nepal started to be a new destination for immigrants. In 1956, under the supervision of French George Lebrec, National Planning Council on Tourism was established and started to boost tourism.
The same year i.e. 1956 National Tourist Development Board was also established. In 1958 Royal Nepal Airlines Corporation ( Currently known as Nepal Airlines Corporation) first started its operation as Nepal’s first aviation service provider. This particular event changed the aviation scenario in Nepal.
In the late 1960s and 1970s, hippies started to move in Nepal. During those days, Nepal was famous for two things, Hippies and Marijuana. The hippies were attracted due to the free availability of hashish and marijuana in Nepal. But in 1973 the government banned the selling of marijuana and hashish which in turn affected the inflow of hippies in Nepal.
In the year 1962, for the first time, the Tourism Department started keeping the statistics of the foreign tourists getting into Nepal.
In the year 1972, Including the joint partnership of UNDP and ILO, Hotel Management and Tourism Training Centre was established to generate trained human resources in the tourism and hospitality area. This institution was renamed as Nepal Academy of Tourism and Hotel Management (NATHM) in 1999.
In 1998, Nepal Tourism Board was instituted to promote Nepal as an attractive tourist destination. The same year, Nepal celebrated “Visit Nepal 98” to encourage Nepal tourism.
From the year 1999 tourist inflow started to fall because of a decade long Maoist insurgency. Other more trends like hijack of Indian Airlines fleet from Tribhuvan International Airport in 1999, the Royal Massacre in 2001 affected the Tourism industry of Nepal negatively.
The historical Peace treaty agreement between Maoist and Government in 2006 brought again revolutionary changes in the tourism industry of Nepal.
In 2011, Tourism Year was celebrated for the second time in Nepal.
Currently, plans and policies are started getting designed for creating a better
environment for the growth of the tourism sector in Nepal. Also, the government started focusing more on the Tourism industry in Nepal.
Also Read: Over Tourism In Nepal | Causes and Solutions