KATHMANDU: Society of Travel and Tour Operators-Nepal (SOTTO-Nepal) has expressed its best wishes for the grand success of the 43rd UFTAA congress from November 20-23.

It also said that it wished to have the problems and difficulties of Nepalese travel agents seriously discussed in the congress.

According to SOTTO, the problems are created by the International Association of Travel Agents’ (IATA) entry in ticketing business with the introduction of Billing and Settlement Plant (BSP) without full phase of their operations and effects like inventory blocking to non-IATA travel agents, discrimination in providing commission on ticketing business between IATA and non-IATA agencies and compelling travel agencies to work with zero commission.

According to SOTTO, Nepalese travel agencies are seriously suffering and struggling for their existence.

It added that there are over 1600 travel agencies authorized by the government, among which only around 100 travel agencies are IATA-accredited.

Over 90 per cent travel agencies — 1500 of tjhe 1600 — are without IATA accreditation and they are all compelled to do their ticketing business without Global Distribution System (GDS) of international airlines. SOTTO-Nepal is a newly established umbrella body of Nepalese travel agents.