Apropos of the news story, “Number of hotels on the rise each passing year” (THT, June 29, Page 12), this sluggish pace of growth in hotels, especially five-stars, is not very conducive for cranking up tourism arrivals in 2020 and way beyond.
A total of 14 five-star hotels is not a number to be proud of, nor will they fulfill the need of the upper-crust travellers that are likely to fly en mass into the Himalayan hotspot. We should have at least 140 five-stars just in case the travellers at large decide to swarm the country in response to our 2020 invitation. The hotel traders should not worry too much about empty rooms, if at all, and must face the lack of tourists stoically as a hotel in Pokhara has been doing for almost two decades. God-willing, the business will flourish sooner or later. But for now, they must prepare for any eventuality. What if three million tourists decide to gatecrash? So, we should not worry about the glut of hotel rooms.
Meanwhile, on the matter of free falling tourist spending “Average tourist spending drops” (THT, June 30, Page 12), we should make an empirical attempt to find out the reason for this rather than thinking like Don Quixote. What are the causes behind this? We need a thorough research. But if this decline is on account of growing backpackers, it should not worry us too much as the travel luminaries recently agreed that we need them for boosting rural tourism, including around a few ‘settled’ cities. Also, we cannot be spending the rest of our lives identifying tourism products. Haven’t we said more than once that we have an extensive array of products to fulfill everyone’s needs? Have we forgotten about Guerilla and coffee tourism? We can even open the next Yarsa season exclusively to tourists for ‘Pay and Pick Yarsa’ tourism. India’s Slum tourism has reportedly surpassed that of Taj tourism, Syria has come up with War tourism and Russia has Dark tourism. The fact of the matter is that Kathmandu is the biggest attraction in the country for both tourists and locals. We may have hills, mountains, rivers, coffee, strawberry, tigers, rhinos, but remove Kathmandu and the tourists will begin to disappear like the retreating monsoon clouds. So, the focus should be to turn Kathmandu into a high-end heritage city like the Vatican or modern ‘settled’ cities, a mix of the new and old.
Manohar Shrestha, Kathmandu
This is with reference to the news story “Allow LGBTIQ people to join government jobs, say lawmakers” (THT, July 1, Page 2). LGTIQ is an acronym referring to Lesbian, Gay, Transgender/ Transsexual, Intersex and Queer/ Questioning. They are the groups, who not only feel being discriminated in the Nepali society but are also strictly forbidden from doing any government job. According to the Civil Servant Act, only a ‘male’ or ‘female’ is allowed to join government service. Now it’s high time the Nepali government made an amendment to the Act and then brought this specific group to the government services so that the problem of unemployment they are facing now will come to an end to a large extent.
Pratik Shrestha, Buddhanagar
A version of this article appears in print on July 03, 2019 of The Himalayan Times.