Government urged to meet nine points of demand to revive tourism during pandemic

Various organisations associated with the tourism industry, which has been severely affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, have in a joint statement called on the government to meet their demands to revive the industry.

The statement, released on Tuesday, said that some businesses have been permanently closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the government has not yet taken the necessary measures to revive the tourism industry.

Organisations working in the tourism sector have warned the government to immediately meet their demands to revive the tourism sector in the country.

They advised the Government to implement the tourism related policies and programmes announced in the Budget for the financial year 2078/79 at the earliest.

The Government was also requested to provide COVID-19 vaccines to the tourism service providers, stakeholders and allied frontline workers working in the tourism sector within one month.

Organisations working in the tourism sector have also requested the government to organise PCR tests at entrances, including Tribhuvan International Airport, and to impose mandatory quarantine in hotels only for tourists who test positive for COVID-19.

The organisations also urged the government in a statement to provide online visa services and introduce a Visa-on-Arrival system to encourage travellers to visit Nepal.

In addition, a country-wide training and monitoring mechanism should be put in place to ensure effective implementation of the Health Security Protocol. It also requested the inclusion of a member of the main umbrella organisations in the COVID-19 Crisis Management Centre (CCMC).

It was suggested that a system of embossed number plates be introduced to allow tourist vehicles to travel smoothly in different parts of the country.

The Government was requested to provide a loan of up to Rs. 2.5 million to tourism companies at zero interest rate, without collateral and for a maximum period of five years.

If tourism vehicles are not eligible due to COVID-19, the vehicle tax should be fully exempted. The penalties for the financial years 2076/77 and 2077/78 will be fully waived, the government said in a statement. Similarly, loans for entrepreneurs engaged in tourist transport would be granted at an annual interest rate of three per cent, while taxes and penalties on vehicle inspections and pollution controls would be reduced by one per cent for one year. The organisations requested that the period of disruption to transport services be calculated as zero time and that the amount of vehicle insurance be deducted for at least one year.