Government's lax attitude hurts tourism businesses in Province 5

Published On: December 5, 2018 10:10 AM NPT By: Rekha Bhusal

BUTWAL, Dec 5: Four months ago, existing tourism offices in Bhairahawa of Rupandehi district and Nepalgunj of Banke district were dissolved and the responsibility of handling the local tourism businesses was given to the provincial government. However, the provincial government is yet to establish any entity or mechanism to facilitate tourism-based businesses. 

As a result, several tourism-related businesses are hurt, many of whom are at a loss trying to get essential certifications for their establishments.

Bishnu Sharma, President of Nepal Association of Travel Agency (NATA), stated that the absence of provincial level tourism offices has affected the functioning of many tourism-related businesses. 

The operation of tourism-based businesses in the region must be authorized by the provincial level tourism office. Absence of provincial level tourism office means existing businesses can neither submit their biannual progress report nor can they settle their tax liabilities. Whereas, the ones in the midst of their application process trying to set-up new businesses are facing a deadlock. 

Chandra Thapa, general secretary of NATA of Province 5, said: "We face extra charges if biannual and tax reports are not submitted to the provincial offices on time." 

Also, there have been reports that tourists have been cheated by unscrupulous businesses in the absence of provincial level authority.

A proposal sent to the federal government by the provincial government to establish a tourism office in a building that used to house the earlier tourism office is yet to be approved by the federal government. Additionally, a joint proposal by NATA and the Ministry of Tourism has also been delivered to the federal government for establishment of such office. 

Speaking to Republica, Minister for Forestry, Environment, and Tourism of Province 5 Lila Giri stated that the offices will be set-up soon.

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