Although Nepal Government has allowed 44 types of industries to operate, tourism sector is still closed and is affected the most. It is expected that it will take another year to raise international flights and tourism related activities. It is necessary to allow safe operation of trekking, hotels, restaurants and other areas. Industries in other sectors that have been closed after the lockdown may be able to operate smoothly immediately, but tourism-related industries may take more than six months to operate.
This pandemic has hit the tourism sector directly and is expected to have its lasting consequences. During the touristic season, the epidemic has paralyzed the tourism industry. The country expected to draw two million tourists with the launch of its campaign visit to Nepal 2020 in January but, due to corona pandemic, the ambitious campaign got cancelled and has demolished tourism industry. Tourism entrepreneurs had made huge investments after the announcement of VNY 2020 campaign, but now all these investments are in huge risk and facing bankruptcy. Therefore there is no possibility of investing more. The government needs to give special priority to the tourism sector to eliminate the dark day of today to see the bright day of tomorrow. Thus, Trekking Agencies’ Association of Nepal (TAAN) has been requesting Ministry of Tourism to facilitate the reimbursement of installments and interest of bank loan. Similarly, tourism in Nepal generates more than a million of employment opportunities and in this situation many workers are facing difficulties. We also requested the government to provide them with a minimum yearly loan of Rs 15,000 per worker per month.
If Banks of Nepal cannot provide concessional loans to tourism entrepreneurs at low interest rates, Government of Nepal under its guarantee should make provision for private sector to take loans from international financial institutions such as World Bank, ADB, IMF, Chinese Banks that are offering lower interest rate. We have always been hopeful that Banks of Nepal would support and facilitate tourism entrepreneurs, but unfortunately they haven’t responded positively. Therefore, the situation has emerged where one has to take loan from an international bank. Nepal Government must need to pay serious attention and step up to support and revive the tourism sector.