TGAN welcomes decision to provide alternative jobs

Kathmandu, April 25

The Trekking Guides Association of Nepal (TGAN) has welcomed the decision of the Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation (MoCTCA) to deploy workers involved in the tourism sector in alternative works till the time the outbreak of the coronavirus is contained and the situation becomes normal.

The tourism industry is one of the most affected sectors due to the coronavirus and even after the lockdown ends and travel suspension is lifted tourists may not be willing to travel. Moreover, the industry itself will take time to recover hence, Tourism Minister Yogesh Bhattarai has said that to ensure employment of tourism workers they will be deployed in other works.

“Trekking guides have been urging the Department of Tourism (DoT) for the work security of around 1.3 million workers who are directly or indirectly dependent on tourism. And this government decision to provide jobs to the workers in this situation is commendable,” said Sarki Sherpa, general secretary of TGAN.

He further said that trekking guides are ready to be involved in alternative works such as cleaning campaigns and finding new trekking routes.

“We all know that the tourism sector has been impacted very hard due to the recent COVID-19 pandemic,” he said, adding, “While in the process of recovering from the damage caused on the entire sector, we should start working on developing and improving diffident fields before we open up for our guests.”

So, this could be an opportunity for the government to prepare to welcome guests when things settled own and on other hand the workers will also be engaged, he added.

Sherpa further said that TGAN has also requested DoT to arrange creative and skill-based training for tour, trekking and mountaineering guides.

Tourism Minister Bhattarai has said that the MoCTCA is preparing to mobilise tourism workers in other constructive works like discovering new trekking trails, constructing trekking routes, cleaning mountains and heritage sites and other relatable works in order to sustain them. The workers will be paid by the government, he stated.

The minister, however, said that the alternative works are optional.

“MoCTCA will arrange various works for those workers who are willing to work. No one will be forced to be involved in such alternative works,” he said.

Meanwhile, Sherpa added that the government has to mobilise the workers for introducing and promoting new tourist destinations. Along with this, he further stressed on providing training for guides and porters like topography map readings, developing navigation skills, assessing risks and learning evacuation procedures.

Minister Bhattarai has also expressed commitment that no tourism worker will remain unemployed due to the effect of the coronavirus.

A version of this article appears in e-paper on April 26, 2020 of The Himalayan Times.