KATHMANDU, May 30: The tourism industry, including hotels, will be provided with benefits and incentives like those provided to the productive sector.
The COVID-19 pandemic has crippled the economy of the country and one of the hardest hit sectors is the tourism sector. The government has waived the company renewal fee for COVID-affected businesses such as hotels, travel, trekking, and tourism businesses, public transport and air service, among others, in FY 2021/22.
Presenting the budget estimates on Saturday, Finance MinisterBishnu Poudel said that the government will provide incentives if hotels that are shut due to COVID-19 pandemic are turned into isolation centers.
“The government will reimburse 75 percent of the investment by star hotels for access roads and transmission lines constructed as per their need,” he said, adding, “I have given continuity to the Business Continuity Fund established for the remuneration of the workers and employees working in domestic small, medium and large scale industries, tourism, private educational institutions, transportation, film industry and media houses and for running their businesses.” About Rs 208.8 million has been allocated for the purpose.
The hotel industry along with other productive sectors will also be exempted from electricity demand charges during the prohibition period. Stating that the tourism sector is hard-hit by COVID-19, the government has also decided to levy only 1 percent income tax on hotels, travel, trekking, transport, aviation industry and media.
In order to promote domestic tourism, 10 days paid holiday will be provided to the civil servants, and employees of public institutions and academies. “Employees working in the private sector will also be encouraged for similar packages,” he said.
The government has allowed the Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation to materialize a total of Rs 27.47 billion budget for the development and promotion of the tourism and aviation sectors.
From the next fiscal year, an integrated tourism information system including GPS tracking will be implemented for the safety and rescue of tourists going for trekking and mountaineering.
The government plans to promote adventure tourism including mountaineering, bungee jumping, rock climbing, rafting, paragliding, ziplining, kayaking etc. “National and international investors will be attracted to invest in the field of adventure tourism,” Poudel said.
Similarly, agri-tourism, eco-tourism, Himalayan yoga tourism, high altitude sports tourism, educational tourism and conference tourism will be promoted in coordination with the local governments and the private sector. The government has allocated Rs 590 million in order to continue the tourism infrastructure development program implemented in 216 places in collaboration with the provincial and local government.
As per the FY 2021/22 policies and programs of the government, an integrated tourism infrastructure development program will be implemented in collaboration with the private sector for the diversification and expansion of the tourism sector.