Declare 2010 ‘visit nepal year’ : HAN for industry status to hotel, tourism sectors

Kathmandu, September 7:

Newly-elected office bearers of the Hotel Association Nepal (HAN) today met Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal ‘Prachanda’ at his official residence in Baluwatar.

New HAN president Prasidha Bahadur Pandey urged the PM to formulate long and short-term plans for developing tourism and recognising it as an industry.

“Data shows one tourist employes nine person directly and indirectly,” Pandey said adding that tourism contributes 17.11 per cent to the GDP.

“Nepal Airlines should be revamped and five new aircraft should be added with the private sector’s involvement,” he said adding that the country’s sole international airport, Tribhuvan International Airport, should be upgraded. He urged for starting construction of airports in Pokhara and Bhairahawa with private sector help build, operate and transfer (BOT) system.

HAN also urged the PM to announce Visit Nepal-2010, the second tourism promotion campaign for boosting the number of tourists coming to Nepal. The huge success of 1998 as Visit Nepal Year has fired HAN and it wants 2010 to be announced as Visit Nepal Year. HAN hopes that an estimated one million tourists will visit Nepal that year.

According to a press release, during Visit Nepal-1998 various promotional campaigns were made that helped to boost the tourism sector. “About eight lakh tourists visited Nepal then,” said HAN representatives.

HAN also demanded that the government, Nepal Tourism Board (NTB) and private organisations start promotional campaigns and develop infrastructure to welcome a million tourists in 2010.

“If a million tourists visit Nepal in 2010, it will accord employment to about nine million people as the tourism sector has a spiral effect on the economy,” said Pandey.

HAN also urged the PM to recognise the hotel and restaurant business as an industry, accordingly charge electricity bills and allow a refund of at least three per cent VAT.