Kathmandu, March 22 Hotel entrepreneurs have urged the newly appointed Minister for Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation, Rabindra Adhikari, to expedite the development of tourism infrastructure to attract more tourists in the country. Citing the country’s vision to bring two million tourists by 2020, a delegation led by Amar Man Shakya, president of Hotel Association Nepal, has drawn the attention of Minister Adhikari to the poor public infrastructure. “Bringing two million tourists into the country is still a far-fetched notion for the country despite the rising number of outbound travellers from neighbouring China and India,” said Shakya. He further stated that lack of proper infrastructure facilities should not be a reason constraining the growth of the tourism sector, which is a sector with the most potential for earning foreign currency and creating more jobs in the country. Stating that the arrival of one foreign tourist creates jobs for 10 Nepalis, Shakya said that the country should also look into increasing the number of days that foreign tourists stay in Nepal. Early completion of international airports, upgradation of highways, east-west corridors, trekking routes were urged in the meeting with the tourism minister. Private sector investment in the hotel sector has increased considerably in recent years, however, the country sorely lacks proper public infrastructure. In fact, the tourism ministry has rescheduled to mark ‘Visit Nepal Year’ from 2018 to 2020 due to slow construction of airports, roads and other infrastructure last year. In the meeting, tourism entrepreneurs also said that Nepal Tourism Board and Nepal Airlines — the national flag carrier — can play a crucial role in bringing more tourists to the country. “No country has been able to boost the number of tourist arrivals without a strong national flag carrier,” said Shakya. Tourism entrepreneurs also emphasised on early completion of reconstruction works of heritage sites. They also stated that the dust and dirt in the Capital city since long due to drinking water pipe laying works have adversely affected the tourism industry. “Prolonged Mugling-Narayanghat road construction also has hit the tourist destination Chitwan hard.” They also stressed that each province should come up with a tourism development masterplan and execute it in coordination with the federal government and the federal government should also support the provincial governments. Hotel entrepreneurs also sought the government’s support to promote gastronomy tourism and local food. They have urged the government to set a long-term vision to bring five million tourists by the end of 2030 through promotion of various products and well facilitated infrastructure, among others. The delegation also handed over a ‘to do list’ to Minister Adhikari. In the meeting, Minister Adhikari said that the government has understood the importance of the tourism sector as the country is endowed with cultural, natural and religious heritage, which can transform the country from the current status of low growth, lack of jobs and alarming trade deficit.