Nepal | August 12, 2020

New Tourism Act to be tabled soon: Minister

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Tourism Minister Yogesh Bhattarai has assured that the issues of the mountaineering sector will be addressed through the new Tourism Act, which is currently in the discussion phase.

Addressing the 13th International Sagarmatha Day today, Minister Bhattarai said, “We are holding several discussions with the stakeholders regarding the new Tourism Act and it will soon be tabled at the Parliament for approval,” he said, adding that the new act will help to strengthen the country’s economy via the mountaineering sector.

He further said that the new act will ensure security and other basic rights of the climbers during their expeditions as well as help generate more jobs in the sector.

“Safety issues are being raised frequently in the international market regarding our mountain expeditions.

The tourism ministry will work with the stakeholders to address this issue,” Bhattarai said.

He further said that the government is mulling over establishing a Climbers’ Welfare Fund, which will be mobilised to ensure the safety of those employed in the sector, such as porters and guides. “This is a proposal from the government,” he said, “I hope the private sector and other foreign stakeholders will support us to establish this fund.”

He further ensured that the mountaineering sector hit by the COVID-19 will soon begin to recover. “After the COV- ID-19 situation settles, the country’s mountaineering sector will be more regulated and secured,” the tourism minister said, adding, “The government will do the needful to take the responsibility of mountaineering workers and entrepreneurs.”

The meeting today was participated by representatives of Nepal Mountaineering Association and Department of Tourism and other stakeholders.

Nepal has been celebrating May 29 has International Sagarmatha Day since 2008.

Since the first summit on Mt Everest in 1953, a total of 6,501 climbers have successfully scaled the world’s tallest peak. Of them, 3,478 are Nepali climbers.

Mt Everest contributes a large portion to the expedition revenue collection. In 2019 alone, the government had collected around Rs 450 million in expedition royalty from climbers attempting to summit the world’s highest peak.

A version of this article appears in e-paper on May 30, 2020, of The Himalayan Times.

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