Trekking Agencies’ Association of Nepal (TAAN) conducted a two- days meeting on October 24th and on 25th at TAAN Secretariat on the topic of ongoing burning issues of Nepal’s tourism sector. The first day meeting was with tourism organizations of political parties and second day meeting was with tourism organizations such as NMA, NATTA, HAN, HRA and many more.
More than 40 members, representing different tourism associations, tourism organizations of political parties along with TAAN Executive Members were present in the meeting in both days.
TAAN President Mr. Nava Raj Dahal chaired the meeting and voiced on current problems and challenges faced by trekking sector in particular and tourism sector in general. Speaking in the meeting, President Dahal utter on charging entrance fee by Khumbu Pasanglhamu Rural Municipality by abolishing TIMS check post and also local hotel committee of Khumbu Pasanglhamu Rural Municipality charging the tourists up to Rs. 500 to 700 per tourist every night for living in the hotel.
Expressing the visits and requests of TAAN to Ministries, Dahal said “Our demands and requests has been presented to Ministers but it has not been effectively implemented.”. As per the direction given by Department of Tourism, TAAN has published a circular to trek through registered trekking company by taking guide and porter, but President Dahal was disappointed that “No trekking without guide and porter” was not implemented effectively and asserted upon illegal trekking operation. “We all organizations together needs to take initiation to secure declining stage of Nepal’s tourism in upcoming days and aim to uplift qualitative tourism.” He added.
Other issues discussed in the meeting was about collecting Rs. 400 from every trekking supporters/staffs at Manaslu region per person per night in same place for whole trekking durations. Similarly, increment in trekking permit fees of conservation areas like Ananpurna, Manaslu and Gaurishankar. Ineffective implementation of TIMS card has lead to increase the number of FITs at Khumbu and Langtang region. Also, hotels of those regions operating illegal trekking business. Likewise, making an effective implementation of tourist search, rescue, treatment and monitoring procedures 2075.
TAAN Past President Mr. Deepak Mahat, also President of National Tourism Entrepreneurs Association of Nepal opposed on pricing entrance fee and lodging fee by Rural Municipality themselves. He agreed on government increasing permit fees but was balked with the decision made without prior notice and indecisive policies. Speaking about TIMS, he endeavored for effective implementation of TIMS as it ensures the safety and security of trekkers, control illegal trekking operation and also generates employment opportunity.
President of Nepal National Tourism Entrepreneurs’ Association Mr. Madan Acharya suggested TAAN to revised MoU between TAAN and NTB regarding TIMS. He highlighted on controlling and lowering down practices of illegal trekking operation through effective implementation of TIMs.
Speaking in the meeting, TAAN former General Secretary Mr. Sagar Pandey enunciated on “Add up value” to business by explaining the benefits to trekkers for taking guides or porters with them. “We must make trekking a secured employment concerning employees well-being, facilities and so on.” He added.
TAAN Past President Mr. Sita Ram Sapkota, also President of Tourism Entrepreneur’s Association – Nepal called upon implementing the increased permit fee from next year or next touristic season. He emphasized on cart offing restricted areas that will result on increasing a greater number of trekkers.
Mr. Rajendra Sapkota Past Board member of NTB call attention to maintain proper law and order to effectively implement trekking permit that will automatically control illegal trekking operation.
NATTA President Mr. C.N Pandey questioned on how can tourism industry contribute to GDP of the nation and take an action accordingly.
President of Nepal Yog Association Mr. Mohan Lamsal, speaking on TIMS, expressed that TAAN is just an implementation association and government is responsible to put check post and check if tourist visits without taking porter or guide. He enlightened that abandoning TIMS won’t solve the problem but will be a disaster to tourism industry. Thus, TIMS must be implemented in a fruitful way.
C.E.O of PATA – Nepal Chapter Mr. Suresh Singh Budal adduced “Tourism is not just the industry but it is a industry of industry”, all tourism related association must go hand in hand in other to achieve unified goal.
TAAN General Secretary Mr. Ang Pemba Sherpa ought to implement TIMS for controlling illegal trekking operation.
Similarly, representatives from other different organizations like related with political parties like National Tourism Entrepreneurs Association of Nepal, Tourism Entrepreneurs’ organization, Nepal National Tourism Entrepreneur’s Association, Nepal Tourism Council, Tourism Entrepreneur’s Association – Nepal, All Nepal Tourism Workers Union and others expressed on strong policy formulation and implementation for promoting adventure tourism. Also, they suggested TAAN to held a meeting with Province No. 1 to implement TIMs in Khumu region.
Representatives from different tourism industries like Nepal Tourism Board, Nepal Mountaineering Association (NMA), Society of Travel and Tour Operator Nepal (SOTTO), Village Tourism Promotion Forum Nepal (VITOF), Hotel Association Nepal (HAN), JAT- Nepal, Himalayan Rescue Association (HRA), Gurung Tourism Entrepreneurs’ Association of Nepal (GTEAN), Nepal Association of Travel and Tour Agents (NATTA), Nepal Yog Association, Nepal Association of Rafting Agencies, Restaurant and Bar Association of Nepal (REBAN) were present in the meeting.
Likewise, Labour Union of different political parties raised their voice upon proper shelter and fooding facilities in hotels and equal payrolls as per the rules and regulations.
Concluding the meeting, President Mr. Dahal concluded by declaring to prepare unified documents and LoU of all tourism associations in coordination of TAAN General Secretary Mr. Sherpa and unified delegation visit to essentials Ministers as a single voice for better tourism policies of Nepal.