Melbourne, Australia: Tourism, Culture and Civil Aviation Minister of Nepal Yogesh Bhattarai, amidst an “opportunities and challenges interaction of Visit Nepal 2020′ invited all participants of the program to Nepal – “bring your friend and family members and show them the culture, tradition and natural beauty of Nepal”, he said.
Organised jointly by Non-Resident Nepali Association, Australia, the Consulate General’s Office of Nepal to Victoria, and the Tourism Board of Nepal, the program was witness to an enthusiastic participation of community members, senior leaders and prominent figures. Minister Bhattarai said he was in Australia to promote Visit Nepal 2020 because “Australia is an important tourism market for Nepal”. “Last year, 38,429 Australian citizens visited Nepal – this year we want to take the number to 100,000”, he said and encouraged the Nepali Embassy in Canberra to help Nepal achieve the target.
Addressing the crowd, Ambassador of Nepal to Australia, Mahesh Raj Dahal said his mission was working towards enabling flights between the two nations. He said flights between the two nations would further strengthen the relation between the two countries and said the embassy is coordinating a meet between the Australian government and Minister Bhattarai for the same purpose.
Keshav Kandel, President of NRNA Australia expressed his sympathy for those affected by the bushfire. He said the organisation was collecting funds to assist the safety workers. “We already collected and donated AUD 20,000 and now are working towards taking the amount to AUD 50,000”, he said. The collected amount will be donated to NSW Rural Fire Service, a volunteer-based firefighting agency and statutory body of the Government of New South Wales. President Kandel also expressed his organisation’s commitment towards making Visit Nepal 2020 a grand success, and wished the Nepali government the best for their tourism campaign.
Similarly, Chandra Yonzon, Honorary Consulate General of Nepal to Victoria encouraged everyone to support Nepal government’s campaign to promote tourism in Nepal. Speaking about Sydney’s incident, he said ‘citizens, while criticising the government also must encourage the government for their efforts’. “Only focusing on the negative will give a negative impression, and the whole exercise should have been encouraged rather than discouraged”, he said. Yonzon also thanked the foreign dignitaries participating in the program.
Senior community member, Shesh Ghale spoke of the importance of quality tourism – suggesting the government should focus on increasing tourism spend in Nepal while going after the numbers.
An agreement with the Nepali Embassy in Australia and Nepalese Association of Australia Education Representatives (NAAER) was also signed, wherein NAAER will present a Visit Nepal 2020 tee shirt to students arriving from Nepal. Students will also be requested to encourage their friends and teachers to Visit Nepal, the agreement said and was signed by Ambassador Mahesh Raj Dahal and Ram Chandra Poudel from NAAER.
Solangture’s Sudhir Shakya presented on the upcoming and exciting mo:mo: festival. Tonnou Ghothane, ex-president of NRNA Australia also spoke on pertaining issues, whilst Trevor Moyal, Stephanie May, Luigi Shosia, and Lucinda spoke beautifully of their Nepali experience. Gladys Liu, Member of the Australian House of Representatives also expressed her interest to visit the beautiful Himalayan nation in 2020.
The community also mourned the loss of lives lost during the ongoing bushfires with a minute of silence, expressed solidarity for the affected families.