Mr Khum Bahadur Subedi, President at Trekking Agents Association Nepal ( TAAN) has put forward his opinion regarding COVID – 19.
After the 47th day of lockdown imposed by the Government of Nepal to prevent the spread of COVID- 19, the government has allowed forty-four types of industries to operate. Although some industries are allowed to operate, the tourism sector is still closed and been affected the most. It is expected that it will take another year to normalize international flights and tourism-related activities. It is necessary to allow safe operations in trekking, hotels, restaurants, and other areas. Tourism-related activities may take more than six months to operate.
This pandemic has hit the tourism sector directly and is expected to have lasting consequences. During the touristic season, the pandemic of Covid-19 has paralyzed the tourism industry. The country was expected to draw two million tourists with the launch of its campaign of Visit Nepal 2020 but, due to the corona pandemic, the ambitious campaign got cancelled and has demolished the tourism industry. Tourism entrepreneurs had made huge investments after the announcement of the VNY 2020 campaign, but now all these investments are at huge risk and facing bankruptcy. Therefore, there is no possibility of investing more. The government needs to give special priority to the tourism sector to eliminate the dark day of today to see the bright day of tomorrow. Thus, Trekking Agencies’ Association of Nepal (TAAN) has been requesting the Ministry of Culture, Tourism & Civil Aviation (MoCTCA) to facilitate the reimbursement of instalments and interest of bank loans. Similarly, tourism in Nepal generates more than a million employment opportunities and in this situation, many workers are facing difficulties. We also requested the government to provide them with a minimum loan of Rs 15000 per worker. If banks in Nepal cannot provide concessional loans to tourism entrepreneurs at low-interest rates, the Government of Nepal under its guarantee should make provision for the private sector to take loans from international financial institutions such as World Bank, ADB, IMF, and Chinese Banks that are offering lower interest rate.
We have always been hopeful that banks in Nepal would support and facilitate tourism entrepreneurs, but unfortunately, they haven’t responded positively. Therefore, the situation has emerged where one has to take a loan from an international bank. I would again like to repeat that GoN needs to pay serious attention and step up to support and revive the tourism sector.
Mr. Khum Bahadur Subedi
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