CB ADHIKARI, KATHMANDU, JUNE 26: The National Tourism Council – which is authorized to carve out the road map for promoting country’s tourism – has not sat for a meeting for the past one and a half years.
The council’s plight reflects why the development of the tourism sector has taken a back foot. The government had formed the council under the leadership of Prime Minister in order to play an influential role in promoting tourism.
The council constitutes of ministers from 20 ministries, secretaries and tourism entrepreneurs as members with the PM as chair and Tourism Minister as the deputy.
The government has designated a three – pillar economic policy featuring agriculture, energy and tourism sectors. The constant change of guard in the government ministries is one of the reasons behind the slack implementation of the promotional projects.
The ministers and secretaries are either transferred or removed from office before they get to understand the tourism projects, due to which the tasks undertaken by any concerned stakeholders are virtually ineffective, according to high officials.
Secretary at the Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation, Shankar Prasad Adhikari, said the council meeting will be held immediately following the conclusion of the second round of the local polls.
Trekking Agencies’ Association of Nepal (TAAN) Chair, Chandra Risal, slammed the government for not showing due seriousness towards tourism sector which he added has resulted in a shortfall. He also pointed towards the council as an example of this trend.
“The PM has said he will call a meeting of the council, it has been a long time since the meeting sat,” he said, adding “The tourism minister and secretary must have taken the initiative as the private sector is also concerned about it.”
The council formed in line with the Tourism Policy, 2065 last sat for meeting during the term of the then PM Madhav Kumar Nepal. The second meeting of the council took place five years late on February 14, 2016.
The council also reviews the tourism related plans and development works, and is tasked with the authority of unravelling the problems seen in the tourism sector.