Kathmandu, July 10 :

Hotel Association-Nepal (HAN) and its office bearers have apprised various problems faced by the hotel industry to the CPN-Maoists and its party leaders amid an interaction held here today.

Prachanda, chairman of CPN-Maoists, politburo member Dr Babu Ram Bhattarai and other senior leaders and office bearers of HAN and its past presidents were present on the occasion. According to a press release issued here by HAN, Prachanda agreed on the tourism sector’s role in country’s economic development in the changed political context.

Referring to the need to exploit huge tourism potential, he said that the industry should be promoted to uplift the living standard of people.

Another Maoists leader Dr Bhattarai explained the party’s policy of not harming any tourists and tourism related activities. Recalling the past, he said that not a single tourist was physically harmed even during the strikes or Nepal bandha.

“We are firm on our policy to promote tourism as a vital tool for a rapid economic development. Our party will continue to promote tourism as a top priority sector for overall economic development,” he added.

Apprising the status of tourism industry with deteriorating situation in the last eight years, HAN president Prakash Shrestha said, “The industry is facing financial crisis at present.” He further said that increasing trade unionism has caused problem to the hotel management. “Extortion has not yet stopped despite party’s assurance,” he added.

Yogendra Shakya, HAN’s past president, said that the psychological fear of Maoists still prevails, which needs to be addressed immediately for the development of free and open business activities. Another past president Narendra Bajracharya said that the industry is in doldrums since 2000.

“The industry must be given top priority status,” he said.

Referring to the success attained by neighbours China and India through free market and liberal economic policies, Prasiddha Bahadur Pandey, first vice-president of HAN urged the Maoists to learn from them and translate their successful models in our economy, too. HAN’s general secretary Ajay Ratna Sthapit, treasurer Shyam Sunder Lal Kakchhapati and executive member M A Lahri, Binod Shanker Shrestha, Ram Awatar Goyal, Shreedhar Acharya, Amarman Shakya, Bidhyasagar Tuladhar, Manjushree Rana, Bharat Basnet and Ghanashyam Shrestha were also present on the occasion.