HIMALAYAN NEWS SERVICE
KATHMANDU: Travel agencies have urged the government to amend the policy for the purchase of tourist vehicles as the current one is impractical.
“The government has provided a 50 per cent discount on total customs tax but we want 100 per cent discount facility,” said vice president of the Nepal Association of Tour and Travel Agents Madhu Sudan Acharya.
“The government seems to be more focused on tourism campaigns but it should simultaneously be concerned about the other aspects too for the overall development of the tourism industry,” he said.
According to Acharya, the Indian tourism industry is a highly developed one as they receive quality and quantity tourists throughout the year whereas in Nepal the flow of tourists is seasonal. “We do not have sufficient vehicles during the peak season and we cannot purchase the required number of vehicles due to the high customs duty coupled with the fact that tourism is a seasonal business,” he added.
Due to the high custom charges and impractical polices of the government, travel agents here have been compelled to use tourist vehicles that are more than a decade old. “Currently, apart from the hotel sector, most travel agents have been forced to use tourist vehicles that are in a dilapidated condition,” he said, urging the government to allow the use of ‘red number plate’ vehicles.
Acharya also complained about the policy regarding the use of diesel vehicles. “The transport department has stopped issuing green number plates to diesel vehicles for the Kathmandu valley only,” he said, adding that tourism entrepreneurs within the valley are not allowed to register diesel vehicles compelling them to use vehicles registered in other districts.
The government has also introduced another futile policy which states that tourism entrepreneurs can only buy tourist vehicles with a capacity of 18 or more seats and the
vehicles can be resold
only after 10 years. But tourism entrepreneurs
say that the period to resell the vehicles should be
reduced to five years
because most ‘green-plate’ vehicles are too old in 10 years.
The transfer of ownership of such imported tourist vehicles to private ones can only be done after eight years and the name of such an agency or hotel must be written or painted on the vehicle.
Full customs duty as per the current rule will be charged, if the ownership of such vehicles is transferred before the eight-year period. But no customs duty will be levied, if ownership is transferred after eight years.