Nov 22, 2014-
- Sangam Prasain’s piece ‘Have cash, will dash’ (November 12, Money II) gives the impression that Nepali tourism is on the march again after hitting rock bottom in the past two decades. For an industry that was once the sole backbone of the country, generating direct and indirect employment, foreign exchange, tax revenue, helping the balance of payments, and supporting ancillary industries and businesses, from TV and air condition to poultry and strawberry, the current contribution of two percent to the national GDP is a total disgrace.
After a string of closures and insolvencies of airlines, hotels, travel, trekking, and handicrafts, the industry is looking up again with some big investment and interest from new entrants. For most former hoteliers and airliners, which were forced to shut shop, it is a case of once bitten, twice as shy. It is unlikely that they will tread the tourism path ever again. However, for new players, it is all virgin territories. There is enough room for renewed optimism. Here is why.
After much dilly-dallying, the government has finally made up its mind to upgrade the two airports at Pokhara and Bhairahawa for international flights. This means, by 2018-19, both Pokhara and Bhairahawa should be able to promote and attract tourists en masse without depending on Kathmandu. All these destinations can now fix their individual arrival targets at one million tourists or more. Bhairahawa can now attract Buddhist pilgrims from around the world; Pokhara can lure sunlust travellers and Kathmandu can continue to mesmerise wanderlust travellers.
As such, there will be immediate demand for at least two dozen five-star hotels in each destination and new investors cannot hope for a better time to throw their hats into the ring. There will be room for at least a couple of dozen additional airlines and helicopter operators to fly tourist revelers into the mountains and jungles from the three international airports. Pokhara should see a revival of iconic mountain flights to the western Himalayas. In anticipation of two million tourists by 2020, the government should start encouraging entrepreneurs to open zip flyers and cable cars not only in the hills of Kathmandu and Pokhara, but throughout the country.
Manohar Shrestha, Kathmandu
The Finance Minister’s silence on the media’s reporting of his alleged pressure to transfer Bharat Subedi without the Ministry of General Adminis-tration’s consent is intriguing (‘Under-secy appeals for life,’ November 17, Page 1). This does not seem to be savoury news for his name to be continuously dragged into. It would be wise of him to allow the relevant ministry to deal with the issue.
J. Talchabhadell, Bhaktapur
- The news ‘Wrong treatment threatens baby’s life’ (November 16, Page 3) is not based on facts. Anvi Rijal, an eight-month-old female baby, was admitted to Ishan Children and Women’s Hospital on March 10. After diagnosis, she was treated for tubercular meningitis. Throughout that period, she was kept on ventilatory support due to her worsening health. On March 15, the patient’s parents wished to take the baby to Delhi for further treatment, for which an air ambulance was brought over only on March 20. Furthermore, the case is sub-judice as the father has already filed a case for reimbursement at the District Administration Office. The Ishan Hospital management strongly feels that this type of reporting may influence the judicial process.
Ishan Children and Women’s Hospital, Kathmandu
Published: 23-11-2014 09:45