November 25 , 2015
A delegation of Trekking Agencies' Association of Nepal (TAAN) paid a courtesy call on Minister for Finance Bishnu Prasad Poudel and Minister for Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation Ananda Prasad Pokharel on Tuesday.
TAAN President Chandra Prasad Rijal handed over token of love to Minister for Finance Bishnu Prasad Poudel and congratulated him on being appointed to the post and wished for his successful term. Similarly, other members of the delegation congratulated Minister Poudel by offering khadas.
Talking with the delegation, Minister Poudel said he would address genuine issues of tourism industry. "Tourism is the mainstay of Nepali economy. Please don't hesitate to come to me if you have any problem," he said.
Similarly, President Rijal congratulated Minister for Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation Ananda Prasad Pokharel on being appointed to the post by handing over a token of love. Other members of the delegation felicitated Minister Pokharel by offering khadas.
The delegation also handed over a memorandum to Minister Pokharel, drawing his attention toward different problems being faced by tourism industry in general and trekking sector in particular.
Among others, the delegation requested Minister Pokharel to ease the process of issuing permits for trekking peaks (above 6,500 meters) by fixing flat fee of US$ 75 per person. It has asked the government to scrap the provision of furnishing insurance documents and accept copy of TIMS card issued for the expedition team instead.
As per the new Memorandum of Understanding for TIMS, TAAN will bear insurance and accident insurance of trekking workers through TIMS fund.
Similarly, the delegation has requested the tourism ministry to scrap the provision of liaison officers in trekking peaks. It has also asked the government to depute one team of liaison officers for one mountain instead of appointing individual liaison officers.
TAAN has also requested the tourism ministry to fix age limit for climbing Mt Everest between 16 and 75. To control unhealthy record-setting spree, it has asked the government to bar people with physical disability from climbing Mt Everest. Similarly, it has also requested the government to replace 'Garbage Deposit Fee' by introducing non-refundable 'Environment Conservation Fee'. TAAN has proposed to levy environment conservation fee of US$ 100 for Mt Everest, $75 for peaks above 8,000 meters, $50 for peaks between 6,501 and 7,999 meters and $20 for peaks up to 6,500 meters.
Similarly, TAAN has proposed to the government to issue Everest climbing permit only to mountaineers who have climbed at least one peak above 6,000 meters. Likewise, TAAN has requested the government to extend validity of climbing permits issued in 2015 until 2017.
The delegation also requested tourism ministry to lower permit fee for Upper Mustang and Upper Dolpa to US$ 250 per person. It has also asked the ministry to take necessary policy decisions for allowing trekking companies to take even single trekkers to restricted areas. Similarly, TAAN has requested the government to remove Nar and Phu (Manang), Upper Manaslu (Gorkha), Lower Dolpa, Simikot and Limi (Humla), Mugu, Lamabagar (Dolakha) and Kanchanjunga (Taplejung) from the list of restricted areas and treat them as general trekking areas for two years to help in recovery of tourism industry which was hit by the April earthquake.
Responding to the delegation, Minister Pokharel said they were positive about solving problems being faced by tourism entrepreneurs."I will study your demands and take needful action at the earliest," he said.
Along with President Rijal, Senior Vice President Tashi Lakpa Sherpa, 1st Vice President Tej Bahadur Gurung, 2nd Vice President Ram Prasad Sapkota, General Secretary Karna Bahadur Lama, Secretary Mukti Pandey, Treasurer Lila Baldab Dahal and Joint Treasurer Krishna Man Shrestha were in the delegation. Similarly, Executive Members Sarita Lama, Devi Pandey, Taranath Sharma, Pemba Sherpa, Ngawang Nima Sherpa, Wangchuk Sherpa, Basudev Lamsal, and Dawa Tamang were also in the team.
(To download memorandum submitted to Minsiter for Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation, kindly click here)