Himalayan News Service

Kathmandu, March 22:

At a time when the government is preparing the new tourism policy, Nepal Chamber of Commerce (NCC) today handed over a list of suggestions for the new draft of tourism policy, at a function organised here today.

Rajesh Kaji Shrestha, president of NCC, while handing over the draft to Dr Yuba Raj Khatiwada, member of National Planning Commission (NPC) and Shankar Koirala, joint secretary at the ministry of culture, tourism and civil aviation, said that the suggestions will help the government to formulate the new tourism policy and to boost the sector.

Dr Yuba Raj Khatiwda refuted the allegations of the private sector that they are not being made party to the formulation of the tourism policy. Khatiwada said the private sector is fully involved in making the new tourism policy.

Shankar Koirala, joint secretary at the ministry of culture, tourism and civil aviation said that the new draft tourism policy is in its preliminary stage. "The new tourism policy will be prepared after taking suggestions from the tourism sector," said Koirala.

Dr Khatiwada opined that there is a need to maintain balance between tourism revenues and the tourist inflow into the country to further the sector.

In its suggestions presented to the government, NCC has said that the previous tourism policy has failed to sustain the tourism industry. It has suggested reform of the Royal Nepal Airlines Corporation (RNAC) in an effective manner to turn around the tourism sector. Tourism entrepreneurs have demanded adoption of measures to stop illegal trekking by issuing trekking registration certificates and implement the rule effectively.

They also suggested to organise a tourism fair every year in association with concerned tourism organisations and declare 2007 as the Rafting Year to attract more tourists. The suggestions also urged to discourage foreign investment in the trekking sector. It laid emphasis on the fact that technical know-how be brought in to promote the sector. Exploring cultural, pilgrimage, village and community tourism in a sustainable manner have become the need of the hour, read the NCC suggestions. It underlined the need to name the tourism industry as the first priority industry, considering the number of people it employs and the amount of foreign currency its earns.