HAN asks immediate relief package

Kathmandu, May 24 :

Hotel Association Nepal (HAN) has asked the government for an immediate relief package to rescue the hotel industry, which has suffered a lot during the 10-year long conflict.

A delegation of HAN led by Prakash Shrestha, its president, met with finance minister Dr Ram Sharan Mahat today and apprised him of problems faced by overall tourism sector and hotel industry in particular. “Many hotels are on verge of closure due to very low occupancy even after the recent political change in the country,” he said.

“Most of the hotels are at a do-or-die situation,” he said, adding it will have a serious impact on tourism industry, if the government failed to address their problem in time. Shrestha, while highlighting a case study of the World Tourism Organisation on chain effect of employment and economy, said the government should take tourism industry seriously as a lucrative sector for employment generation and foreign currency earnings.

Among the demands that HAN has put forth today include freezing of principal amount and interest of loan taken by hotels for at least six months to two years. Shrestha said that the government should make arrangement for a concessional current account loan till the next tourist season and freeze value added tax (VAT) and electricity bills for at least six months.

HAN also asked to freeze conservation fees and royalty to be paid for the King Mahendra Nature Conservation Trust and Department of Wildlife Conservation from six months to up to two years and make provision for easy payment on instalment basis in future.

HAN suggested to implement the recommendations made by a high-level committee headed by Dr Yubraj Khatiwada. Most of the demands of HAN were related to payment of loans and interests and extension of moratorium period for at least two to four years on repayment of interests.

The delegation comprised of president Shrestha, first vice-president Prasiddha Pandey, second vice-president B K Shrestha, general secretary Ajay Ratna Sthapit and members M A Lahiri, Dinesh Bista and Ram Awatar Goyal.