TAAN seeks extension of renewal deadline

Kathmandu, April 24

The Trekking Agencies’ Association of Nepal (TAAN) has requested the Department of Tourism (DoT) to extend the deadline for renewing the licence to operate their agencies.

“Trekking agencies are facing major problems right now due to the coronavirus and business has been affected for the last two months. In such a dire situation, the agencies are not able to renew their licence,” said Sarita Lama, general secretary of TAAN.

“We have forwarded a letter requesting the DoT to take necessary action to extend the deadline to renew the licences of trekking agencies,” she said.

“Agencies are unable to renew their licence at the moment. The deadline must be extended for at least six months and no penalty should be levied for the late renewal,” she added.

Lama mentioned that as soon as the situation normalises which might take a couple of months then the agencies will definitely renew their licence.

The agencies have to renew their operation licence every five years and the renewal fee is Rs 25,000, as per the Travel and Trekking Agencies Regulation - 2005. As per the regulation, if any agency fails to renew its licence within three months of its expiry, then the agency has to pay an additional 25 per cent of the renewal amount. If any agency fails to renew its licence for six months, then it is liable to pay an additional 50 per cent of the renewal amount.

However, DoT has stated that the responsibility related to issuance and renewal of licences has been transferred to the provincial governments. Hence, all government works related to travel and trekking have to be done through the nearest administrative offices.

Last year in August, DoT had delegated such responsibility to the seven tourism offices of the seven provincial governments. The responsibility to issue and renew the licence of tour guides, trekking guides and trekking porter guides has also been handed over to the provincial governments.

General Secretary Lama also spoke about the preparations being made by the government to increase the deposit amount to operate trekking businesses.

“It has been reported that the government is preparing to increase deposit amount to operate trekking agencies which is not justifiable for small investors,” she said.

However, DoT did not make any comment on this issue.

A version of this article appears in e-paper on April 25, 2020, of The Himalayan Times.