Street festival should be established as an International brand – Bhattarai

Tourism Pokhara. 19th edition of Pokhara street festival is set to begin from Poush 13 lasting to Poush 17. After concluding successfully for 18 times, this festival has achieved an unique identity during this time interval. The initial event saw a single day program in a 1km trail named as Lakeside Festival. The program gradually extended to a current 5 day form celebrated within 3.5 km trail and developed with a brand name Pokhara Street Festival.

Our Tourism Pokhara team got an opportunity to converse with the one of the pioneers of Pokhara Street Festival, Mr Ganesh Bahadur Bhattarai which we have presented here:

–  You are taken as a initial campaigner of this street festival. How did Street festival began in Pokhara?
– The first festival in 1999A.D was conducted by raising fund within ourself. We organised a meeting at Hungry Eye Hotel and decided to raise 5000 from big, 3000 from medium and 2000 from small level hotels and restauras. This fund raised event grew so big that it could finacially manage itself and even contribute to Fewa Lake conservation program and other social causes as well.

–  What do you think is the destiny of Pokhara Street Festival?
We from private sectors, have enngaged in promoting tourism by making this Street festival a recognized brand throughout the world. Now is high time that our public sector, local government, political parties should also adopt this young and growing child of ours. Though Reban Pokhara organise this event, it is not just Reban that is benefited from this event. Eventually the whole Pokhara city is benefited from this program. There is no doubt that we can give a significant boost to whole tourism industry if we can create a homely environment during Christmas and New Year Festival for tourists right here in Pokhara. Our street festival aims to do so by bringing festive mood in our tourism city. Not only this, street festival is also concerned about developing cultural and ethnic aspect within the nation.

– What do you think should be done to make this Festival a Brand?
Nepal government, local administration and tourism related organizations should carry parenthood and take this festival to international level. International culture, art and dishes should be provided here so that the tourists can feel themselves at home.

Agricultural products, art and culture, food and lifestyle from province 4 should be brought to display in the festival. A cheaper and convenient transportation both by road and air should be made available. 50 year old road connectivity cannot be answer to modern day tourists whom are used to highly sophisticated services. Unmanaged urbanization cannot help in tourism promotion. Rather conserving our heritage and culture could be the key to boost tourism.

– What is the relation between tourism in pokhara and street festival?
We have seen tourist that have visited solely to be part of this festival. Meanwhile many tourist have lengthened their stay to observe this festival. Since tourist can celebrate their new year here, we should make this festival more inclusive and comprehensive.

People visit Pokhara majorly for Rafting in KaliGandaki, Annapura trekking and sight seeing. To add to this are Seti rafting, bunjee jumping, zipflyer, paragliding as well as art and culture of residing communities. These challenging activities, art and culture along with street festivals like this can no doubt boost tourism industry here.

– What are your views to negative comments that are often heard in previous street festival?
While we are trying to promote tourism, there do exist some people who try to take benefit in illegal ways. This is not tolerable. And if complaint is filed with sufficient proofs, i urge local administration to take as strong action as possible against such misdeeds.

– Anything at the last?
Pokhara street festival is our festival and together we have come to this point. I expect more love and support from all of us and finally a welcome from heart to everyone. Thankyou.

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