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Tag: Tourism industry

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Tourism Ministry plans major restructuring

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

Make tourism industry country’s top priority

Minister for Tourism Ram Kumar Shrestha has stressed on the need to make tourism industry a priority of the government, adding that Nepal stands to gain a lot from this sector as the country is blessed with natural beauty and cultural heritage.

Minister Shrestha, who was addressing the 50th Annual General Meeting of Nepal Association of Tour and Travel Agents (NATTA) in the capital on Thursday, said that tourism industry is the only industry of its kind where massive profits and returns can be expected from minimal investment.

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A roller-coaster year for tourism, aviation

Though Nepal´s aviation industry was criticized for many reasons and tourist arrivals via air dropped, the year 2013 can be termed a remarkable for tourism industry as it drew investment worth billions of rupees.

Ailing national flag carrier Nepal Airlines Corporation (NAC) announced plan to invest around Rs 9.8 billion to purchase two Airbus A320-200.

It has also signed an agreement to buy four new planes, a 58-seater MA60 and three 19-seater Harbin Y12s, worth Rs 3.72 billion. On purchase of four aircraft, China is providing one MA60 and one Harbin Y12 worth Rs 2.94 billion to NAC free of cost.

Despite this, Nepal´s aviation sector was criticized mainly because of serious problems like potholes on the runway of the Tribhuwan International Airport (TIA), the European Union (EU) decision to ban Nepali airlines from flying to EU member countries, and lack of aviation safety, among others.

However, Ratish Chandra Lal Suman, director general of Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal (CAAN), said CAAN´s revenue increased by 16.59 percent in the fiscal year 2012/13. CAAN had earned all time high revenue of Rs 3.52 billion in 2011/12.

Invitation of tender for the expansion of Bhairahawa-based Gautam Buddha Airport to a regional international airport, beginning of direct flights to Europe from Kathmandu by Turkish Air were the other important happenings in aviation industry in 2013.

Also, CAAN has received nod of the tourism ministry and the finance ministry to build a five-star airport hotel at Sinamangal under BOOT modality.

There were good signs for tourism revival as well with massive investments pouring in backed by the belief of formation of stable government. This shows Nepali s gradually heading toward tourism prosperity.

According to the Department of Industry, Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in tourism swelled more than four-fold in 2012-13 to Rs 3.89 billion from Rs 837 million recorded in the previous year. Likewise, investment commitments worth Rs 100 billion have been made, according to the Hotel Association of Nepal (HAN).

“The year was a remarkable one as the country´s established conglomerates like Chaudhary Group, Golyan Group, TM Dugar Group, and Nepal Hospitality Group (NHG) — a subsidiary of the MS Group and MIT Group Holding Nepal, among others, are investing billions of rupees in the hospitality industry,” Madhav Om Shrestha, executive director of HAN, told Republica.

Tourist arrival down
The latest comparative data of the first eight months released by Immigration Office at TIA shows that tourists arrival dropped by 2.3 percent compared to the same period last year. Not only that, arrivals in the peak tourist season also went down by 7.01 percent compared to the same period last year.

Tourism stakeholders expect tourist arrivals to drop by 10 to 15 percent this year as major tourist season was hurt badly by inconsistent air fare to and from Nepal, travel advisories issued by different countries, and fears of insecurity and disturbance due to nationwide strike called by 33-party alliance before Constituent Assembly (CA) election. Lack of proper management at Nepal Tourism Board (NTB) also slowed promotional activities this year, according to industry people.

Expectations from 2014

With all things looking good and Nepal heading toward political stability, tourism entrepreneurs are optimistic that the industry will gain momentum and post growth in 2014.
A committee has recommended to the government to increase royalty fee for Mount Everest to $11,000 per person per expedition and Rs 74,000 per person, or royalty waiver, for Nepali mountaineers.

It has also asked the government to open 32 new peaks for commercial expedition, officially recognize five new peaks above 8,000 meters and set up standards for recognizing mountaineering records, among others. “These suggestions are likely to be implemented in 2014,” Madhusudan Burlakoti, chief of the Tourism Industry Division, said. He also said the process to apply for registration of tourism enterprises will go online in 2014.

NAC Spokesperson Ganesh Bahadur Chand said that national flag carrier expects revival of fortune and regain its lost image with the procurement of six aircraft from China.
Shrestha of HAN said the most interesting thing will be the decentralized investment with many three and four stars hotels coming up outside the capital and beginning of construction of five-star and five-star deluxe hotels.

Besides, the amendment made to the three-decade old hotel and resort regulation is expected to lift the quality of hotels.
Trekking Agencies´ Association of Nepal (TAAN) is focusing on sanitation and agro tourism this year.

“We will be unveiling new destination like Ruby Valley and Khaptad to Rara trail and digitize Trekkers´ Information Management system (TIMS),” Ramesh Dhamala, president of TAAN, said. “We will also upgrade quality of home-stays and explore new villages to promote home-stay tourism.”

On Sunday, CAAN made amendment to the Civil Aviation Regulation 2002 through ministry level which now provides full autonomy to the director general in areas like air safety, airspace regulation, setting aviation security and standards and licensing of airlines, pilots, engineers, air traffic controllers. It has also introduced a new human resource (HR) policy that allows it to recruit experienced individuals for regulatory purposes at industry standard salaries.

“With these changes, CAAN expects to bring down the non-compliance rate with the eight areas audited by International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) to the global average thereby removing all issues related to aviation safety,” said Suman.

source: republica, 01 Jan 2014

Countries Should Ease Taxes to Promote Tourism, Says PATA Chief

The chief executive officer of an international association promoting tourism in Asia on Tuesday said that governments should stop “taxing and harassing” tourism and focus on building a holistic package to promote it, South Korea’s Yonhap news agency reported.

Chief of the Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA), Martin Craigs said many governments are stuck in the old mindset of seeing tourism as “something like alcohol and tobacco that needs to be taxed.”

“We (at the PATA) don’t see it like that at all. We see travel and tourism as fundamental to societal development, cross-cultural understanding, empathy and enjoyment,” he told Yonhap prior to the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) Asia Summit, here.

“It therefore should be nurtured, not taxed and harassed as it is in Europe,” he added.

Meanwhile, citing his research, Craigs said South Korea’s tourism industry has become sophisticated and a model for other Asian countries.

“You have a balance between outbound and inbound. You have native people who are passionate about seeing the rest of the world. You are a fashionable location,” he said, noting that it is very healthy and encouraging from all points of view.

source: BERNAMA, 11 Sept 2013

Closure of casino will affect

Casinos in Pokhara have started to close operations after the government increased royalty fee by 100 percent.

Tourism entrepreneurs say closure of casinos will affect tourism industry in the lake city. They have urged the government to show flexibility and create the environment for casinos to operate.

“Closure of casinos will affect tourist flow as they have remained one of the attractions for tourists visiting Pokhara,” Hari Sharma, president of Paschimanchal Hotel Association, said.

Casino Pokhara Grande, which started operation five years ago, shut operations on Tuesday after the government doubled the royalty fee.
Sharma said that the decision to increase royalty fee in the name of barring the entry of Nepalis in casinos has made it difficult for casino operators to sustain their business.

According to entrepreneurs, around 70,000 tourists come to Nepal to play in casinos. Around 20 percent of them visit Pokhara.
Kedar Sharma, president of Nepal Association of Tours and Travel Agents (NATTA) Regional Chapter, Pokhara, said casino is an essential product for tourism industry. “The government should create an environment for entrepreneurs to do business,” he added.

Tikaram Sapkota, board member of Nepal Tourism Board (NTB), said closure of casinos will affect tourist flow in Pokhara. “Most of the Indian and Chinese tourists, who are in Pokhara, visit casinos,” he added.

Pokhara Grande Casino is situated in Pokhara Grande Hotel. Another casino in Pokhara, Casino Pokhara, however, is still in operation.

source: republica, 24 July 2013

Nepal at FITUR 2013 International Tourism Forum

Nepal attended the International Tourism Trade Fair, FITUR 2013 from January 30 to February 3rd 2013 in Madrid, Spain. The grand international event was participated by Nepal Tourism Board in co-ordination with Nepal Association of Tour & Travel Agents (NATTA).

International tourism Trade Fair FITUR-2013
International Tourism Trade Fair FITUR-2013

The International Tourism Trade Fair featured some high levels of representation on the part of the international tourist industry. The fair remained important to create the international trade fair circuit for the travel industry presenting a series of different projects designed to boost business within the field of tourism at the global level.

FITUR 2013 remained remarkable for Nepalese tourism industry in the sense that Nepal utilized the opportunity to have close views of how all of the leading players within the worldwide tourist industry came together in order to present their latest projects, their latest strategies and the latest market trends.

According to Nepal Tourism Board (NTB) source, Nepal’s participation in the fair was successful to reposition the image of Nepal as a safe, premier and value for money destination among the Spanish tour operators and travelers. The NTB source further highlighted, “Along with receiving huge queries form Spanish for tourism products of Himalaya, Nepal showcased the potential aspects of tourism in Nepal among nearly about 90,000 visitors in the five day fair”.

Along with government agency, 16 different travel trade companies from Nepal participated in the fair hoping to strengthen their capacity to adapt to the industry’s demands.

The tourism fair hosted more than nine thousand companies from more than 165 countries.