KATHMANDU, March 8: Tourism entrepreneurs have asked the government to provide them with 50% waiver in taxes due to the slowdown in the tourism business as the widespread outbreak of coronavirus continues to affect tourist arrivals in the country.
Mentioning the adverse impact of coronavirus (COVID-19) on tourism industry of Nepal, the entrepreneurs have collectively asked the government to ease the payment of taxes under different headings, which they have been paying to the government. They have also suggested that the government not impose any fines or take action against the tourism businesses for the time being.
Organizations working in the tourism industry, issuing a statement on Friday, have drawn the government's attention to protect the investment in tourism industry and to create an environment to keep the businesses running. They have asked the government to announce the tourism industry as a troubled industry and prepare relief packages accordingly.
The entrepreneurs have also demanded 50% waiver on the rental tax. They have also asked the government to manage a provision of full refund as tourists have been cancelling their bookings for hotels and flights due to the coronavirus.
The tourism entrepreneurs have also been seeking the authority to deduct salary of their staff and as relief, have asked for at least 50% financial support from the social security fund (SSF).
“To stop the manpower currently working in the tourism sector from leaving the country, the government in coordination with Nepal Academy of Tourism and Hotel Management (NATHM) and the private sector, should organize special training and seminar to upscale their professional skill,” read the statement.
The tourism entrepreneurs have also demanded the expansion of refinancing facility provided by Nepal Rastra Bank (NRB) to those involved in the tourism and travel industry. The NRB through banks and financial institutions (BFIs), has been providing concessional loans to various sectors including the tourism industry. However, such facility was available to only certain sector like the hospitality sector. It has also demanded the restructuring of loans to the tourism sector and immediate capitalization of interest or concessional term loan with repayment facility only after one year.
Hotel Association of Nepal (HAN), Nepal Association of Tour and Travels Agent (NATTA), Trekking Agencies Association of Nepal (TAAN), Nepal Tourism Vehicle Association (NTVA), Nepal Association of Tour Operators (NATO), Society of Travel and Tour Operators Nepal (SOTTO Nepal), Tourist Bus Association of Nepal (TBAN), Nepal Association of Rafting (NARA) and Restaurant and Bar Association of Nepal (REBAN) have collectively asked the government to support the tourism industry as it faces serious setback due to the impact of the coronavirus.