Print Edition - 2018-10-17 | MONEY
Nepalis have to pay entry fee to conservation areas
Oct 17, 2018-
Nepalis too will have to pay entry fees to visit the Annapurna Conservation Area Project, Manaslu Conservation Area Project and Gauri Shanker Conservation Area Project. The federal government on Monday published a directive in the Nepal Gazette fixing the new entry fees for Nepali and foreign tourists visiting the three conservation areas in the Himalaya.
According to the directive, Nepalis will have to pay Rs100 each to enter the conservation areas, and obtain a permit from the conservation area project counters operating under the National Trust for Nature Conservation (NTNC).
The government has also hiked the entry fees for visitors from the member countries of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) and other foreign nationals. SAARC nationals will have to pay Rs1,000, up from Rs200 earlier, while other foreign nationals will be charged Rs3,000, up from Rs2,260 before, including taxes.
The hike in entry fees has angered tourism entrepreneurs in Pokhara who have criticised the government for increasing the rates without prior information. Hari Bhujel, president of the Trekking Agencies’ Association of Nepal (TAAN) Pokhara-Chapter, said they opposed the new rule to collect fees from Nepali visitors.
“It is deplorable for the government to charge Nepali sightseers when a national campaign is underway to bring 2 million tourists in 2020,” said Bhujel, adding that they were surprised by the unplanned and unilateral decision. “The government should announce its plan six months prior to implementing it.” Tourism entrepreneurs said that tour packages were normally sold well in advance, and such abrupt charges would force them to suffer losses. According to Bhujel, Tourism Minister Rabindra Adhikari said that he was unaware of the latest development when asked about the new entry fees.Local authorities in Kaski have also expressed unhappiness at the federal government’s abrupt decision to collect fees from Nepali visitors and sharply increasing the entry fee for foreigners.
“The decision was made unilaterally by the Forest Ministry, and it goes against the sentiments of Nepalis visitors,” said Yubaraj Kunwar, chief of Annapurna Rural Municipality. He added that people always move about. “Even my children and relatives travel from one place to another, and now are they are required to pay tax to travel?” He said that they had decided to oppose the government’s decision and would lobby against it after the Dashain.
Published: 17-10-2018 09:07