Country prepares for VNY-2020: Tourism Minister

POKHARA: Minister for Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation Yogesh Bhattarai has expressed confidence that the country's new constitution has already started spreading its roots within a short time since its promulgation.

Addressing a press meet organised by the Federation of Nepali Journalists (FNJ) in Pokhara today, Minister Bhattarai said that the country would move towards development and prosperity with coordination among all sectors. He said it took a relatively short time to implement the promulgated constitution in Nepal in comparison to other foreign countries. "Implementation of the new constitution found its roots in our country in a short time."

He expressed that the number of tourists and foreign investors would grow in Nepal. Citing that the country recently exported 150 Megawatt of electricity after constructing a higher-capacity hydroelectricity plant, Minister Bhattarai said the country has become independent in energy sector.

Likewise, the Tourism Minister stated that preparations for Visit Nepal Year-2020 (VNY-2020) have been completed with the approach of the New Year, as per the Gregorian calendar.

In this context, he informed that preparations have been carried out to welcome around 2 million tourists and added that Tribhuvan International Airport, the sole international airport of the country, would be operated for 21 hours. More flights and airlines will be operated and the parking spaces have been enlarged.

Likewise, Minister Bhattarai also said that the operation of Gautam Buddha International Airport, by next year, would ease the movement of tourists. He, however, added that only airport infrastructure could not make the visit year successful.

He stressed that the provincial governments could bring forth new packages to make VNY-2020 campaign successful as the ministry has demanded a budget of Rs 650 million for the publicity of the campaign as the originally allocated Rs 100 million would not have been enough.

The minister also informed that 52 percent construction works of Pokhara Regional International Airport had been completed and remaining construction would be over by the beginning of 2021.

Furthermore, the tourism minister stressed the need for coordination among ministries in order to preserve the natural resources of the country, including Phewa Lake.

(Translated by Suresh Chaudhary, Edited by Priyanka Adhikari)