July 10 , 2015
Stakeholders have stressed need to enhance safety measures, improve weather forecasting and intensify marketing initiatives to promote mountain tourism in Nepal.
Speaking at an interaction on 'Present Scenario and Challenges of Mountain Tourism in Nepal' organized in Kathmandu on Thursday, they said the government must assess trekking trails and declare them safe at the earliest if it wants to welcome foreign tourists from autumn season.
Presenting his working paper, Bhumi Lal Lama, convenor of Environment Conservation Committee of Nepal Mountaineering Association (NMA), he said mountaineering activities have been affected in three straight seasons -- Everest 2014, Annapurna 2014 and Everest 2015. "We need effective weather forecast, proper shelters along trekking trails, effective registration system and information dissemination system, and search and rescue cell," he added. He termed rebuilding of infrastructures and re-positioning of Nepal's tourism image in international market as our immediate challenges.
Commenting on the paper, Ramesh Prasad Dhamala, president of Trekking Agencies' Association of Nepal (TAAN), said the working paper was silent on the situation of hotels, guesthouses and teahouses in trekking areas. "Skilled workforce is migrating to overseas destinations. We need to introduce special programs to retain them here," he added. Dhamala also said the Pokhara Declaration 2015 should be implemented for tourism recovery.
He also said the government and TAAN have ensured social security for trekkers by setting aside 10 percent of revenue from TIMS to establish social security fund for the well-being of trekking and mountaineering workers.
Another commentator Pemba Gyalje Sherpa said special programs should be introduced to retain skilled workforce. He stressed the need to streamline search and rescue mechanism so that trekkers/mountaineers and workers can be rescued in time in case of accidents.
Inaugurating the interaction, Minister for Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation Kripasur Sherpa said the government was putting every effort for tourism recovery. "We are assessing trekking trails. After assessment is complete, we will tell the rest of the world that our trekking trails are safe," he said, adding that the government has formed a body comprising of government officials and tourism entrepreneurs to chalk out plans for tourism recovery.
The interaction was organized by Journalists Association for Tourism-Nepal and Nepal Mountaineering Association.