KATHMANDU, Nepal – The recently elected members of the Constituent Assembly (CA) from the Kathmandu valley have vowed to work for the betterment of the country’s tourism industry.
Addressing an event organized by tourism entrepreneurs eight out of the 15 CA representatives from Kathmandu, Bhaktapur and Lalitpur, said they would do their bit to promote the valley and the entire country into a suitable destination for tourists.
Welcoming the participants, Hotel Association Nepal (HAN) President Shyam Sundar Lal Kakshapati underscored the need of focus from the political parties for the development of the country’s tourism sector. “The CA representatives have been designated to draft a constitution that will lead to the overall development of the country. Apart from this, they should also consider developing the tourism sector which has got immense potentiality,” said Kakshapati. The upcoming government should categorize the tourism industry as a “national priority”, he added.
Stating that sectors like tourism, hydro, agriculture and infrastructure development are among the pillars of the country’s development, Kakshapati added that tourism was the sector from which higher benefits could be gained with a small investment. He also urged the government to work together with the private sector for achieving the common goal of promoting tourism which contributes 2.4 percent to the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP). According to him, the country can earn foreign currency, create employment opportunities, control poverty, promote exports and make regional balance and maintain a better Balance of Profit (BoP) through tourism promotion.
General Secretary of the Nepali Congress (NC) Prakash Man Singh said that the failure of the country to host local elections had hindered development efforts at the local level, causing a negative impact on the tourism sector. Singh was elected to the CA from Kathmandu 1 constituency. “Problems related with roadways, drainage system and drinking water, among others, have contributed to converting Kathmandu into an ugly city. We need to look after this and take along the development agenda besides drafting the constitution on time,” Singh said. He urged the private sector to come up with development plans and agendas for the development of the sector. “Small stuff like restoration of temples and ancient heritage can also help in boosting tourism,” he said.
Similarly, Madan Bahadur Amatya, NC representative from Lalitpur 3, said that the government should complete development projects even by deploying the Nepal Army. “We need to be a Nepali more than a politician, and have the commitment to meet a goal,” Amatya said.
Ram Bir Manandhar of the CPN-UML, who represents Kathmandu 7 in the CA, said that the government should create an environment to keep tourists in Kathmandu for at least three to four days. “Agendas relating to tourism development will top my priority in the CA,” he said. The civilization of Kathmandu which started with the Bagmati and Bishnumati rivers should be protected and converted into attractions for tourists.
The event was jointly organised by Han in coordination with several other organisations including the Restaurant and Bar Association of Nepal (Reban), Tourist Guild Association of Nepal (TGA Nepal), Nepal Association of Travel and Tour Agents (Natta), PATA Nepal Chapter, Nepal Association of Tour Operators (Nato), Trekking Agents Association of Nepal (Taan), Nepal Association of Rafting Agents (Nara), Himalayan Rescue Association (HRA) and Society of Travel and Tour Operators Nepal (Sotto Nepal).