Pokhara businessmen plan to pressure govt

  • barring nepalis from using tourist buses
- BIRENDRA KC, Kaski

Sep 11, 2016-

Business people from Pokhara are considering pressuring the government to shelve its plan to bring a regulation that bars tourist vehicles from serving domestic tourists.

They are planning to visit the Prime Minister, Tourism, Transportation and Law Ministers to urge them not to introduce such a regulation. 

As around 50 percent of the passengers of these tourist vehicles are domestic tourists, transporters are worried about a possible loss.

Given the government has announced Bikram Sambat 2073 as “Ghumfir Barsa”, barring domestic tourists from travelling on vehicles with green plates is incongruent, according to Bindu Kumar Thapa, president of Pokhara Chamber of Commerce and Industries (PCCI). “The government shouldn’t bring such a regulation as it will affect the tourism industry negatively,” said Thapa.

According to entrepreneurs, tourism industry in Pokhara is yet to recover from the impact of last year’s earthquakes and subsequent Indian trade embargo.

“Currently, the number of domestic tourists outnumber foreigners in Pokhara ,” said Som Thapa of Pokhara Tourism Council. “If domestic tourists are not allowed from travelling on tourist buses, tourism will be severely affected.”

There are around 2,000 vehicles with green number plates—1,300 of them in Kathmandu, 173 in Narayani and 206 in Pokhara, according to Kedar Nath Sharma, past president of Nepal Association of Tour and Travel Agents (NATTA).

“Around Rs15 billion has been invested in such vehicles and the investment is increasing,” he said. “If they are not allowed to carry domestic passengers, the business will collapse.”

According NATTA General Secretary Subas Bhadari, around 50 percent of the passengers carried by the tourists bus are domestic tourists.

Tourism entrepreneurs criticised government for only listening to transport syndicates. “Instead of bringing policies and regulations that promote the tourism industry, the government is destroying an industry that is just coming out from the mess, on its own,” said Ram Chandra Sharma, president of Trekking Agencies’ Association of Nepal. “The government doesn’t have other options than promoting tourist vehicles.”

Snajeev Karki of Pokhara always takes tourist bus while travelling to Kathmandu. 

“Tourist buses, unlike other public vehicles, never carry passengers more than their seat capacities and they never over speed,” he said. “Therefore, tourist buses are safer than other public vehicles.”

Published: 11-09-2016 10:25

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