Migrant workers will be asked to wear shirts and caps with the Visit Nepal logoHuman rights activists have called the decision misguided, ineffective and ridiculous.
Every day at the Tribhuvan International Airport, there is a crowd of men in matching t-shirts and caps, awaiting their turn to board.
These shirts and caps, which carry the name of the employment agency that is sending them abroad, serve as advertisements—and as identifiers in case anyone gets lost.
But soon, these pieces of clothing will carry a different logo—one that advertises Visit Nepal 2020.
In an attempt to provide more visibility to the national tourism campaign, the Nepal Association of Foreign Employment Agencies has made it mandatory for all outgoing migrant workers to wear t-shirts and caps emblazoned with the Visit Nepal logo.
“We have issued a circular to all foreign employment agencies currently working in Nepal to provide t-shirts and caps with the logo to all Nepali migrant workers from January 1,” Bishnu Gaire, chairperson of the association, told the Post.
According to Gaire, the association has instructed all employment agencies to provide the t-shirt and cap during the mandatory orientation programmes before the migrants leave. The workers will have to wear the t-shirt and cap during their weeks off as that will greatly help in the promotion of Visit Nepal, said Gaire.
The association has also made it mandatory to display the logo and sticker of Visit Nepal 2020 in every foreign employment office, on their letter pads, official emails and visiting cards.
With 2020 around the corner, officials have been scrambling to ensure that the tourism campaign takes off without a hitch. However, tourism entrepreneurs have been saying that it is all too little, too late.
However, government officials told the Post they haven’t placed such instructions to association. According to Rudra Singh Tamang, Spokesperson at the Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation, they have only asked government agencies to provide whatever support possible to make the event successful.
“We had earlier decided to provide some promotional kit to the selected migrant workers to help promote the visit Nepal year,” Tamang said. “If migrant workers are being made to wear caps and t-shirts, it is not acceptable. But if they are being asked to do this on a voluntary basis, there’s no harm.”
The foreign employment association’s new requirement only serves to show that government officials are attempting to pursue any means necessary, however ridiculous, said rights activists and people working in the field of migrant welfare.
Gopal Krishna Siwakoti, chairperson of the human rights group INHURED, said that the decision is among the most ridiculous and illogical ones ever taken.
“Most of our migrant workers are going to the Gulf and Malaysia, whose citizens hardly visit Nepal. Second, they are not ambassadors. Those who need to be working in the country are leaving as migrant workers and now you are slapping the government’s plan on their chests and sending them abroad?” said Siwakoti. “Why only migrant workers? Why not impose this decision on all Nepali nationals to wear a Visit Nepal t-shirt twice a week?”