The Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation plans to open two departments and an Aviation Safety Investigation Bureau in a bid to streamline the country’s tourism and aviation sectors. The two departments and the bureau will function directly under the ministry.
According to ministry officials, the present Tourism Industry Division will be restructured as the Department of Tourism , and a new Department of Culture and Museum will be set up to conserve and revitalize the country’s cultural and natural heritage. The Department of Tourism will be responsible for providing services in the most efficient manner besides regulating the country’s tourism industry.
“Preparations for creating the Tourism Department will be completed by this fiscal year, and it will start working under its new avatar by the next fiscal,” said Mohan Krishna Sapkota, spokesperson of the ministry.
This department will ensure that the licences necessary to set up businesses like hotels and travel agencies are issued on time besides formulating policies on tax and other matters in the view of the needs of investment, said government officials.
The department will also create single-window system regarding the issuance of licences and permits for new hospitality businesses.
For example, an entrepreneur wishing to open a five-star hotel has to go through various processes to obtain a licence. The tourism division issues the operating licences in the last phase.
Likewise, the proposed Department of Culture and Museum will deal with both tangible and intangible heritage resources and consider museums as key vehicles for their preservation and promotion. Sapkota said that they would be conducting organization and methods (O&M) before proceeding with the plan to set up the new departments.
Meanwhile, the planned Aviation Safety Investigation Bureau will recommend and provide inputs on the developments and weaknesses in the area of aviation safety.
“It will have a team of experts to study trends to simplify complicated matters in the aviation sector,” said Sapkota. “The think tank will be authorized to investigate any air accident.” The experts will be hired on a contract basis. As every probe panel formed to investigate air crashes has been criticized for being a toothless committee, government officials said that such an independent body would help find out the actual reasons behind any crash and also make recommendations to prevent such incidents in the future.
Nepal’s aviation safety record has taken a severe blow with a series of air crashes recently. Ministry officials said that the effort to set up an investigation bureau was prompted by Nepal’s being blacklisted by the European Commission (EC). On Dec 5, 2013, the EC banned all Nepal-based airlines from flying in the European Union terming them unsafe.
source: The Kathmandu Post, 13 Mar 2014