Entrepreneurs urge to boost regional tourism

Himalayan News Service

Kathmandu, January 23:

Business sector of the SAARC nations have stressed on the need to boost regional tourism — intra-SAARC tourism — with a strong coordination.

Binod Bahadur Shrestha, president of the Federation of Nepalese Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FNCCI), recalled the developments taking place in the South Asian region in tourism sector.

He was of the opinion to go in a coordinated approach to boost tourism in the region.

Similarly, co-chairman of SAARC Chamber Tourism Council Pradeep Madhavji referred to the positive developments after the recent SAARC Summit in Pakistan and proposed an organisation of the SAARC Airlines CEOs meeting at the earliest possible in Kathmandu.

According to FNCCI, Hulas Chand Golchha, vice-president of SAARC Chamber of Commerce and Industry, stressed on the need to reactivate the tourism council.

Madhavji discussed on attracting tourists from all over the world to the SAARC region by effective mobilising the resources. He expected seven to eight million tourists to India and half a million tourists to Nepal if some concrete steps were taken to lure them. He stressed on the need to simplify the procedures for tourists in each SAARC member states and by making goodwill ambassadors.

Yogendra Shakya, a leading tourism industrialist on the occasion commented that a number of events could be organised in SAARC region but that should be action-oriented. “To boost tourism, events of different sectors need to be organised that will ultimately advance people-to-people,” he added.

In reality, we are waiting for concrete result, he commented. In SAARC nations, we can organise various events like sports and airlines’ CEOs meet for which the institution like SAARC Tourism can play a catalytic role. Shakya on the occasion also proposed SAARC kite flying event to boost tourism.

Ms Nandini Lele Thapa of NTB sought active involvement of the SAARC Chamber Tourism Council Members in each SAARC member state.

Ms Ambica Shrestha pointed out the need to develop SAARC Chamber Tourism Council to promote tourism in the region as this year has already been declared ‘SAARC Tourism Year’.

The meeting also realised that joint initiatives were lacking in the SAARC region for making optimal use of the complementarities.