Wednesday, 15th October, 2014
Joint Tourism Coordination Committee (JTCC) – a forum of around three dozen travel trade organizations – on Tuesday organized a program to welcome Tulsi Prasad Gautam, director general of the newly formed Tourism Department.
JTCC Coordinator Ramesh Prasad Dhamala welcomed Director General Gautam by offering bouquet and khadas. Similarly, representatives of other member organizations of JTCC also offered khadas to Gautam. In the program, TAAN General Secretary Sagar Pandey gave brief introduction of JTCC and elaborated on activities being carried by it. Speaking at the program, Deepak Mahat, former president of TAAN and coordinator of Nepal Entrepreneurs’ Association for Tourism (NEAT) Nepal, said as the new director general should clear suspicion among tourism entrepreneurs that the department has been formed as an alternative to Nepal Tourism Board (NTB). “The department cannot work without taking private sector into confidence because tourism industry is driven by the private sector,” he said, adding: “We are willing to join hands with the department for the betterment of Nepali tourism industry.” Similarly, Ang Tshering Sherpa, president of Nepal Mountaineering Association (NMA), said the department should take initiative for lifting restriction on foreign trekkers to different controlled areas of the country. “If foreign tourists are allowed entry in controlled areas like other trekking areas in the country, the number of foreign tourists will increase significantly. This would create new jobs and make big contribution to national economy,” he added.
Likewise, Chandra Rijal, president of Nepal National Tourism Entrepreneurs Organization, urged the new director general to introduce a one-window system for all services needed for tourism entrepreneurs. “The existing system of visiting different agencies should be stopped. I request the new director general to take the initiative to this effect,” added Rijal. Addressing the program, Director General Gautam assured the tourism stakeholders that the Tourism Department does not intend to replace NTB as it has its own objectives and jurisdiction. “NTB will continue to perform responsibilities assigned to it. The department has been revived to enhance service delivery of the then Tourism Industry Division,” he added. Gautam also said there is a need to make amendment to Tourism Act and review different regulations related to the tourism industry. “We will soon organize a meeting of stakeholders to discussion on the act and regulations,” he added. Gautam also said he would start internal study for introducing one-window system for all tourism related services very soon.
JTCC Coordinator Ramesh Prasad Dhamala said they initiated protest against NTB to usher in good governance. “Good governance is necessary not only in NTB, but also in other organizations,” he added. Dhamala, who is also the president of TAAN, requested Director General Gautam to take initiative for end transportation syndicate which has been barring the movement of tourist vehicles in different parts of the country. He also urged Gautam to implement ‘no trekking without guide/porter system’ to ensure safety of trekkers.