Abject poverty and high unemployment are rampant in Nepal, particularly in its remote mountain communities. As a result, thousands of Nepali citizens are emigrating every day in search of better lives, finding work mainly in the Middle East, East Asia and Southeast Asia.
The Government of Nepal has identified the tourism sector as a ‘national priority industry’ because it provides income for impoverished rural communities, particularly where other viable development opportunities are very limited.
The principle objectives of its ‘Tourism Policy 2065’ are to create job opportunities, raise the living standards of people and develop tourism by diversifying and expanding it. At the same time, preserving the natural and cultural heritage of the country is also prioritised.
Buoyed by the end of the “People’s War” (1996-2006) and the relative peace and stability that the country is now enjoying, tourism is growing, with visitor numbers up by 18% to nearly 603,000 in 2010. Naturally, this growth is creating increased demand for trained staff and improved quality of services and facilities.
HITT is providing training for the most disadvantaged target groups, namely women, young people and unskilled and semi-skilled informal workers that have often been excluded from vocational training. It is only by improving standards in this way that the government’s ambitious targets to quadruple tourist arrivals within a decade can be realised.