TAAN holds interaction with partner associations
December 12 , 2013
Trekking Agencies’ Association of
Nepal (TAAN) on December 12 organized an interaction with partner travel trade
associations to discuss pertinent issues in Nepali tourism sector.
Along with TAAN, representatives
of seven travel trade associations – Nepal Association of Tours and Travel
Agents (NATTA), Nepal Mountaineering Association (NMA), Himalayan Rescue
Association (HRA), Nepal Tourist Vehicles Association (NTVA), PATA Nepal
Chapter and Nepal Association of Rafting Agents (NARA), participated in the
Welcoming the participants, TAAN
General Secretary Sagar Pandey proposed forming a joint coordination committee
of travel trade associations to lobby with the government on important issues related
to Nepali tourism sector. “Individual voice will go unheard, the government
will entertain our voice only if we are united,” he added.
Similarly, Madhusudan Acharya, 1st
vice-president of NATTA, said tourism associations should make joint efforts to
press the government to recognize tourism as a national priority industry and
provide facilities accordingly. “We should also request the political parties
and other groups to not resort to banda and strikes,” he added.
Shyam Sundar Lal Kakshapti,
president of HAN, also said travel trade associations should form a joint coordination
committee to lobby with policymakers on issues related to tourism industry. He
also said the travel trade associations should press the government to relax
customs duty on vehicles to be used by tourism enterprises. “We also need to
meet the EU ambassador to Nepal to know why Nepali airlines have been banned
from flying in European skies. This will help the government to initiate
necessary measures to lift the ban at the earliest,” he added. He also said the
committee should also raise issues related to Nepal Tourism Board (NTB) with the
Speaking on the occasion, Ram
Sharan Karki, president of NTVA, stressed the need to control free movement of
Indian vehicles in Nepal. “Indian vehicles are openly doing sight-seeing in
Nepal. We can’t compete with them as we have to pay more than 200 percent
customs duty on vehicles while they pay no such duty at all,” he added. He also
proposed to open Tourism Welfare Petrol Pump so that tourist vehicles get fuel
even when petroleum products in supply. He also said transportation syndicate
was creating problems for smooth operation of tourist vehicles in different
parts of the country. “We should also give hospitality training to transportation
staff and provide uniform for them,” he added.
Suman Pandey of PATA Nepal
Chapter said we cannot form integrated voice unless we shed our petty
interests. “NTB is the epicenter of Nepali tourism. We should press the
government to make its activities more effective,” he added. He also proposed
to organize Himalayan Travel Mart to promote tourism destinations in the
Himalayas. “Nepali tourism entrepreneurs not only sell Nepal, they also operate
groups in Tibet, Bhutan, India and Pakistan,” he said, adding that mart would
be instrumental in promoting destinations there.
NARA President Chandra Dahal said
it is high time travel trade associations joined hands for conservation of
rivers. He also said the government should introduce River Information
Management System (RIMS) to control illegal operation of rafting business.
Bikram Neupane of HRA said NTB
should be made accountable to the private sector. Diwas Pokhrel of NMA urged
TAAN to seek membership of UIAA and UAAA.
Keshav Pandey, senior
vice-president of TAAN, underlined the need to call a joint meeting of travel trade
associations and prepare tourism action plan by collecting their suggestions.
TAAN President Ramesh Dhamala
said the government should control illegal operation of trekking business by
NGOs, INGOs and other individuals. He also called upon the participants to do
the needful for preservation of Bishnumati River. “We need to collect
suggestions of travel trade associations and work jointly for tourism
development,” he added. Dhamala also proposed to the representatives of
different travel trade associations to hold joint meeting with tourism
officials to make NTB more accountable to the private sector.