Kathmandu, December 31:

There could be no better New Year’s gift for hotel employees than this, as a long-awaited dispute between hotel employees and owners regarding an imposition of service charge on hotel bills has finally been settled, which is sure to increase income of employees by over 70 per cent.

Now, the total taxes on hotel bills beginning January 1, will be an additional 10 per cent extra charge besides 13 per cent Value Added Tax (VAT). It may, however, hit the customers hard.

The 22-year long dispute — between the hoteliers and the employees — has ended today with all trade unions and Hotel Association Nepal (HAN) signing an accord to impose 10 per cent service charge in all hotels and restaurants beginning from January 1.

The service charge will be applicable to the members of HAN only. HAN has about 2000 member hotels and resorts throughout Nepal.

Briefing the journalists, Prakash Shrestha, president of the Hotel Association Nepal (HAN) said that the dispute between hotel owners and workers has ‘officially’ ended.

“The imposition of 10 per cent service charge would give some relief to this sector, and more importantly, it will help the hotel management and employees to narrow down their differences,” hoped Shrestha while talking to journalists today. “This decision will mark a new beginning for Nepal.”

The decision to impose service charge was agreed between the Hotel Association Nepal, Nepal Tourism and Hotel Labourers Association, Nepal Independent Hotel Workers Union and All Nepal Hotel and Restaurant Workers Association.

The accord to this effect was signed yesterday evening. The service charge will be charged on food and beverages.

According to HAN, annual transactions of the hotels across the country stands over four billion rupees and it has given employment to over 200 thousand — directly and indirectly.

Ramesh Pant, central of president of All Nepal Hotel and Restaurants Workers Union said that the years of dispute has ended. The decision to impose service charge will ultimately boost the financial status of the employees.

Similarly, Netra Bikram Thapa of Nepal Tourism and Hotel Labourers Association also hailed the decision hoping that it would bring changes in the lives of hotel employees. Similarly, other trade union leaders also welcomed the decision. Thapa also informed that trade unions are working out on implementation of service charges in Casinos also.

Narendra Bajracharya, former president of HAN opined that the decision would boost the tourism industry as it has ended uncertainties.