May 14 , 2015
Rs 400 million sought to repair damaged trekking trails
The Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation (MoCTCA) has prepared Tourism Recovery Action Plan to bring the tourism industry back on track at the earliest.
The ministry submitted the action plan for approval to Prime Minister Sushil Koirala on Wednesday. The action plan includes immediate, mid-term and long term reconstruction, relief and package program for the recovery of tourism industry.
Suresh Man Shrestha, secretary of MoCTCA, said that the action plan has been prepared to rebuild and rehabilitate cultural heritage sites, tourist areas and trekking trails damaged by the earthquake of April 25 and subsequent aftershocks. He said the government has plans for effective promotion of tourism products, which have not been affected by the earthquake, in the international market.
As per the recovery plan, the tourism ministry plans to rehabilitate around a dozen trekking trails. According to ministry officials, rehabilitation of Dhunche-Gosaikunda-Helambu, Syafrubesi-Langtang-Kyanjin, Larke Pass-Chekampar, Tsum Valley, Kalinchowk-Bigu Gumba-Charikot, Gaurishankar and Lamabagar, Jiri-Khumbu, Annapurna Circuit, Dhaulagiri and Dhorpatan trails are in priority.
"We might have to change trekking routes in some areas as landslides have swept away trails in many places," Rajendra Sigdel, under-secretary of MoCTCA who is looking after the action plan, told Thursday's Republica.
The ministry has estimated the cost of rehabilitating trails, building footbridges, and shelters for trekkers at around Rs 400 million.
"The ministry plans to start repair of trekking routes at the earliest with an aim to complete the work within two years," Sigdel added.
Meanwhile, the Tourism Recovery Committee, which was formed a few days ago, is sending technical teams in different trekking areas to assess the damage made by the earthquake.
Similarly, the tourism ministry has also requested the Office of the Prime Minister and Council of Ministers and the Ministry of Finance to exempt customs duty on construction materials imported for renovation of hotels and resorts. It has also requested the finance ministry to provide loans to hotels and resorts, like individuals homes, at 2 percent interest rate.
Likewise, Department of Archaeology – the agency that looks after cultural heritage sites – has sought Rs 2 billion from the government to rebuild cultural heritage sites destroyed by the earthquake.