KATHMANDU: The government on Sunday constituted a powerful national committee for the revival of country’s tourism sector after April 25 temblor and its aftershocks damaged tourism infrastructure, incurring an estimated loss of Rs 18 billion.
According to Mohan Krishna Sapkota, spokesperson for the Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation, a 36-member panel led by tourism minister Kripasur Sherpa shall coordinate overall activities ranging from recovery to reconstruction of tourism infrastructure with a concrete plan of action.
The committee comprises veteran tourism entrepreneurs, including Ambica Shrestha, Lhakpa Sonam Sherpa and Yogendra Shakya as its vice-chairpersons. Joint secretaries from MoCTCA, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ministry of Finance, Local Development Ministry, as well as tourism entrepreneurs, including Basanta Raj Mishra, Nimanuru Sherpa, Pabitra Karki and Jyoti Adhikari, among others, have been appointed as members, while Department of Tourism director general will serve as member-secretary.
As the preliminary assessment of the ministry found that the tourism sector needed at least Rs 21 billion for its recovery, the panel will lobby with the national and international stakeholders for investment. There is also an urgent need for the stakeholders to bring the devastated cultural and religious heritage sites to their previous state, according to Joint Secretary Sapkota.
Besides carrying out early repair and maintenance, as well as reconstruction of the damaged tourism infrastructure, including historical and cultural monuments and blocked routes, the government-led body is also mandated to promote 85 per cent of the total tourism property that escaped damage.
According to stakeholders, there is another important task before the committee — to normalise country’s mountaineering industry that has been adversely affected since the deadly avalanche on Mt Everest in April 2014. The industry workers are still unsure about the fate of their profession after two straight years of the devastation.
Former tourism brand ambassador for Nepal Amelia Rose Hillary suggested that there should be a concrete plan for the recovery as well as promotion of country’s tourism products in the global market. “Except Langtang and a section of Manaslu trail, all other trekking and hiking routes are safe,” the granddaughter of Edmund Hillary said after visiting seven worst-affected districts.