Tourist buses parked at Pokhara bus park.(Republica)
POKHARA, Sept 5: The government's preparation to limit 'tourist vehicle service' only to foreigners has saddened tourism entrepreneurs in Pokhara. Not letting internal tourists travel in luxurious buses with green number plates will badly hit the domestic tourism, they argued.
According to tourism entrepreneurs, the government needs to rethink over the decision if it really wants to celebrate 2073 BS as the year to promote internal tourism as announced earlier. While the year has been marked as 'year of internal tourism', the government is preparing to introduce the new worrisome Act, the entrepreneurs say.
“If Nepalis are not allowed to travel in tourist buses, this will directly hit internal tourism. In fact, the adverse effect can devastate the tourism industry,” said Bobarjung Gurung, president of Tourism Transportation Committee of Pokhara.
“We are worried that the domestic tourism, which is gradually thriving, will have serious setback if the internal tourists are not allowed to use tourist bus,” he added.
The entrepreneurs of Pokhara say the year 2073 BS will be a flop year for tourism. They stressed that both domestic and foreign tourists should be given attractive facilities so that more people would love to travel in Nepal. “Domestic tourists should not be deprived of the facility of tourist vehicle in any condition,” Gurung said. Gurung further said that the government has in fact created hurdles for tourism industry.
“Such kind of hurdles is not legal either,” he said. “We just rose from devastating earthquake and inhuman blockade. It is time to facilitate tourists and entrepreneurs and not discourage them,” Gurung added.
Safety and luxury make tourists choose tourist buses. According to Dilli Prasad Gautam, President of Western Region Branch of Nepal Association of Tours and Travel Agents (NATTA), majority of domestic tourists opt for tourist vehicle, and if they are kept out of it, the country cannot benefit from internal tourism. “Tourism sector will have to bear huge loss if such faulty decision is taken,” he said.
Gautam even added that there would be no option left except to take to the streets if the government 'does not show wisdom and does the rightful thing'.
“The government is trying to be strict about tourist buses in the name of curbing accidents. But what the government should do is control the syndicate system. Depriving citizens of traveling in tourist buses will not work,” he stressed.
According to the entrepreneurs, disciplining the transportation sector does not call for restriction of Nepali citizens to travel in tourist bus. Around 50 tourist buses ply Kathmandu - Pokhra route on a daily basis. “Most of the passengers are Nepalis,” Gautam said.