UNWTO Regional Workshop Kicks off in Kathmandu
KATHMANDU, March 15: The United Nations Regional Workshop on “Measuring Tourism: Better data for better tourism in Asia and the Pacific” kicked off in Kathmandu on March 15, 2023. The 3-day program jointly organized by the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) with the Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation (MoCTCA) of Nepal and Nepal Tourism Board (NTB).
The inauguration program saw representation from 11 countries and the UNWTO. High-level representatives from India, Bangladesh, Malaysia, Maldives, Indonesia, Iran, Philippines, Cambodia, Laos, Korea, Thailand, Spain and Nepal, are participating in the program that seeks to discuss the measurement and use of tourism data for “People, Planet and Prosperity”.
Holding of this high-profile workshop in Kathmandu is expected to increase visibility and the potential of Nepal as an ideal destination for regional and international conventions. The workshop also provides an ideal platform to gain in depth insight on the current and pertinent tourism topics and to share Nepal experience with the international delegates.
Hon’ble Tourism Minister Sudhan Kirati was present during the opening ceremony and delivered a special address acknowledging the importance of tourism data and its potential for use in policies and plans for steady tourism recovery in the wake of the pandemic.
He said the focus now should be on product development and diversification, investment in tourism sector, conservation of natural and cultural heritage, ensuring that the benefits of tourism reach community and grassroots level, for building a path to sustainable, resilient and responsible tourism industry.
A panel discussion was held on “Measuring Tourism for People, Planet and Prosperity” moderated by Ms. Eunji Tae from the UNWTO, that was participated by the high-level international delegates, including: Dr. Ahmed Salih, State Minister of Tourism, Maldives; Dr. Thok Sokhom, Secretary of State, Ministry of Tourism Cambodia; Mrs. Pudji Ismartini, Deputy Chief of Distribution and Services Statistics, BPS-Statistics, Indonesia; Mr. Beka Jekeli, Director of External Relations, UNWTO; Mr. Suresh Adhikari, Secretary of the Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation; and Dr. Dhananjay Regmi, Chief Executive Officer of NTB.
The panel discussion brought out various issues regarding access, mining of data and use of the data and analytics for the development of a sustainable, inclusive and resilient tourism industry.
The program opened with remarks from Mr. Jakeli, Director of External Relations of the UNWTO. Mr. Jakeli emphasized on the key role of tourism data analysis and use for formulating tourism plans and policies.
Her Excellency Ambassador of Nepal to Spain Dr. Sharmila Parajuli Dhakal, said the workshop would help in directing and guiding the world’s tourism industry towards the path of revival and recovery.
Mr. Jongtaek Park, Director General for Tourism Policy of the Ministry of Culture, Sport and Tourism, Republic of Korea, joined virtually and expressed his optimism that the program would help in sharing of knowledge on tourism data and statistics among the different countries.
NTB CEO Dr. Regmi thanked UNWTO for choosing Nepal to host the important regional workshop. Dr. Regmi said the meeting would help develop a common perspective and agenda on tourism, data and analytics among the world leaders in tourism present in the program. He said he was positive about the impact of real-time, authentic data, to evolve tourism and take it to the next level.
As per Director of NTB Mr. Maniraj Lamichhane the workshop will include technical sessions like: governance system of tourism statistics; concepts, definitions, data sources and variables; Tourism Satellite Account system and its use. The workshop will also provide opportunities for sharing of individual country cases, including success stories and challenges related to tourism data collection and use.