Kathmandu, March 29

Domestic hotel entrepreneurs have expressed serious concerns over the increasing home stay services in city areas of the country. Moreover, hoteliers also said that if city-centric home stay services are not controlled, this will soon have an adverse effect on the hotel industry of the country.

“Home stay services have been instrumental in catering services to tourists in areas where there are no facilities of hotels. However, a number of home stay services can be found in city areas, including in Kathmandu, Bhaktapur and Lalitpur,” said Amar Man Shakya, president of Hotel Association Nepal (HAN), during a seminar on the prospects and challenges for the hotel industry in Nepal. The event was organised by HAN in the Capital today.

Moreover, Shakya said that running home stay services is illegal in city areas and the government should immediately take measures to control the growing number of home stay services in cities. “The government should seriously look into this issue of mushrooming home stay services in city areas as home stay services have been hurting the hotel businesses,” he added.

Similarly, HAN also expressed concern over the government’s inability to increase the flow of tourists in the country, especially in the context where almost three dozen new hotels are in the process of starting operations in the country by 2020. “There will be over 4,000 star rooms added to the hotel industry by 2020, however, the government’s plans and programmes to increase the flow of tourists have not gone accordingly,” Shakya stated.

As per HAN, weak air connectivity, poor tourist handling at Tribhuvan International Airport (TIA), delay in construction of other regional and international airports, congested vehicle traffic due to increase in number of vehicles, lack of proper roads connecting to tourist destinations, and air pollution, among others are the other obstacles for growth of the not only the hotel industry but the entire tourism sector.

Acknowledging that air connectivity or the lack of it is the major setback for the growth of tourism sector in Nepal, Shankar Prasad Adhikari, secretary of the Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation (MoCTCA), said that the government is working to expand the fleet of Nepal Airlines Corporation (NAC). He also informed that there are plans to expand TIA and improve facilities.

Similarly, Adhikari said that the government has been expediting the construction of airports in the country including the Second International Airport in Nijgadh and Gautam Buddha International Airport in Bhairahawa. “We have completed almost 25 per cent of the physical works of the Bhairahawa airport. If things go as planned, we will complete its construction within the next two years,” he said, adding that the construction of the Pokhara International Airport will also begin from July 1.

Meanwhile, Secretary Adhikari said that MoCTCA has taken into account the issue of home stay services being provided in city areas and will take necessary decisions in the near future after consultations with all stakeholders.