POKHARA: Minister for Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation Bhanu Bhakta Dhakal has said he would take initiatives to solve the problems faced by tourism sector at the earliest.

Minister Dhakal said this at a discussion programme organised by Pokhara Tourism Council on tourism and contemporary issues.

He, however, said that other sectors were shadowed as the government engrossed itself on saving people's lives in the wake of Covid-19 which affected all sectors in the country. "Every sector has problems. As the government focused on saving people's lives, other sectors got less priority. It does not mean government neglected other sectors," Minister Dhakal reminded, adding that he would identify the problems in reopening Ratna Temple in Pokhara and take proper measures.

Suggestions from stakeholders and experts in tourism sector would be considered and proper plan would be forwarded to solve the problems, the Minister said, adding, "I am a minister of the Cabinet which has announced fresh elections. But the genuine issues in this sector will be addressed." He argued that the government has worked by ensuring good governance and transparency.

Minister Dhakal stressed that the election would be held on stipulated dates and that it had no alternative either.

On the occasion, Pokhara Tourism Council Gopi Bahadur Bhattarai expressed concern that tourism sector witnessed a 100 percent decline. Tourism entrepreneurs lost much also because the monetary policy government brought was not implemented. Although tourism saw severe effects, the entrepreneurs have not been able to access the business operation fund of Rs 50 billion. Bhattarai further shared the plight that many entrepreneurs were leaving this sector after they lost much investment and did not get anything in the form of support from government's side.

He suggested tourism-friendly policy to attract foreign tourists and creation of an atmosphere that would be favourable to visit new places freely.

Similarly, noted tourism entrepreneur Ganesh Bhattarai said this sector faced huge loss as the government failed to make proper analyses of Covid-19 impact on tourism.

Former member of Nepal Tourism Board Basu Tripathi urged the government to change the entry fee as 'multiple' to foreign nationals visiting the Annapurna Conservation Area Project (ACAP). The fee can be used for multiple entries so that tourists would not feel hassled.

According to central chairperson of Hotel Association, Bharat Purajuli, environment should be made alluring to the foreign tourists by ensuring adequate security at International Airport and Nepal-India border.