Kathmandu, August 26
Tourism Minister Yogesh Bhattarai unveiled his one-year work plan today by organising a press meet almost a month after his appointment as the tourism minister.
“In order to bring about changes in the tourism, culture and civil aviation sector, we have to usher in changes to our legal provisions and policies,” he said. “In this one year, cultural, tourism and civil aviation acts will be amended and we will draft
new provisions if needed.”
Draft of new acts will be prepared soon, he added. Bhattarai further said that he is prepared to complete all the activities that are scheduled for the current fiscal year efficiently, citing that he has a strong team backing him up.
Civil aviation sector
While unveiling the one-year work plan, the minister said that domestic passengers above 70 years will receive 50 per cent discount on their airfare. The Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation will hold discussions with stakeholders to implement this policy, he informed.
Minister Bhattarai also said that the ministry will form new legal provisions and reform the old policies to meet the standards of the European Union aiming to get off from the EU’s air safety list.
Likewise, to produce skilled manpower for the aviation sector, the ministry will conduct a feasibility study of opening an international standard flying school.
Similarly, the minister has also announced to provide incentive package to airline companies that operate flights to Gautam Buddha International Airport (GBIA).
“Construction of GBIA is all set to be completed by December. After that, we will be working on other parts of the airports aiming to bring it into operation within three months,” he said. “We will be providing incentive packages to those airline companies that operate commercial flights to and from GBIA.”
The minister said that by the end of the year, site clearance for Nijgadh International Airport (NIA) will also commence.
Referring to the airports in the country that have remained non-operational, Minister Bhattarai said that the ministry will issue expression of interest (EoI) to develop those airports as air sports activity centres.
Talking about upgradation of the country’s sole international airport — Tribhuvan International Airport (TIA) — the minister said that TIA is capable of providing 24-hour service hence, the ministry will offer special packages to those airline companies that operate flights after midnight.
“Moreover, new VIP movement criteria will be introduced at TIA to address the congestion and traffic jams during VIP movements,” he added.
Tourism industry and success of VNY 2020
To make Visit Nepal Year (VNY) 2020 successful, the ministry is preparing to organise a Global Tourism Ministers’ Conclave in association with the United Nations World Tourism Organisation with the theme ‘New Year in Nepal’.
The conclave will take place towards the end of December aiming to inaugurate VNY 2020 in the presence of tourism ministers from different countries.
Earlier, the minister had announced about inaugurating TIA as a boutique airport and VNY 2020 campaign on the same day.
Meanwhile, the VNY logo will be used on visa stamps, baggage stickers and boarding passes for both domestic and international flights.
Similarly, in association with Non-Resident Nepali Association and VNY Secretariat, the ‘One Nepali send One Foreign Friend’ campaign will be launched.
The minister further announced about organising tourism investment summit, to complete the work of Tourism Satellite Account, to provide skill-based training related with tourism sector to 12,000 interested candidates and to instal GPS tracking system to make mountaineering sector more reliable and secure.
A version of this article appears in print on August 27, 2019 of The Himalayan Times.