11 December 2020. Nepal Tourism Board (NTB) and the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) have jointly launched a new project “Sustainable Tourism for Livelihood Recovery” to support the recovery of Nepal’s tourism, one of the sectors hardest hit by the COVID-19 pandemic. The US$ 2 million project to be co-funded by NTB and UNDP will create short-term jobs for the affected communities, particularly women and people from disadvantaged groups, whose livelihood is dependent on tourism. NTB and UNDP signed Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on Friday, December 11, 2020, to collaborate on the project.
Dr. Dhananjay Regmi, CEO of NTB, and Ms. Ayshanie Medagangoda-Labe, Resident Representative of UNDP – Nepal, signed the MoU on behalf of their respective organizations. The project aims to create 1,600 jobs through construction and improvement of small tourism infrastructures, including trekking trails, tourism information center, waste management system and renovation of cultural heritage sites in selected tourist hotspots, including the Everest and Annapurna regions.
NTB CEO Dr. Regmi appreciated the support and partnership with UNDP during the current crucial juncture of global crisis of COVID-19. He reiterated the importance of the program in creating opportunities and momentum for speedy recovery of the tourism sector in the post crisis period. Similarly, RR of UNDP Ms. Medagangoda-Labe expressed optimism on the partnership in tourism sector crucial for the recovery of Nepal’s economy. “UNDP is very happy to be a part of the program”, she said.
To be implemented through NTB, the two-and-a-half-year project will also initiate activities to support the long-term revival of the tourism sector by creating sustainable jobs and livelihood opportunities in partnership with the private sector; developing human resource capacity; supporting the creation of tourism-based enterprises; strengthening sector-related data and information management and digitalization; and articulating a comprehensive tourism recovery strategy. The project will help in strengthening the institutional capacity of the NTB through the formulation of a comprehensive tourism recovery strategy, as well as through increased digitization and other efforts for future disaster risk management.
The project comes after the success of a similar initial micro program between NTB and UNDP, which started earlier in March 2020 as the global pandemic created worldwide threat and traveling had come to a standstill. The micro program already implemented in five different tourism areas across the country has employed 250 local people from the tourism workforce for upgrade and maintenance of major popular tourism trails and sites.
The partnership between NTB and UNDP after a gap of almost 13 years, has brought enthusiasm and anticipation on both sides to further the goal of Sustainable Tourism Development. Earlier, NTB had worked with UNDP from 2002 till 2007 on Tourism for Rural Poverty Alleviation Program (TRPAP).
Originally published in NTB website