September 24: The Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation has proposed weekly holiday for two days in order to promote domestic tourism at a time when the tourism activities have come to a grinding halt due to coronavirus pandemic.
The ministry is preparing to submit the proposal to the cabinet meeting soon. A meeting of the ministry chaired by Tourism Minister Yogesh Bhattarai on Thursday (September 23) decided to form a task force to study the prospect of two days off during the weekend. Once the task force prepares its report, it will be presented to the cabinet for approval, said sources at the ministry.
The task force is headed by joint secretary Pradeep Kumar Koirala. Other members of the task force are chief of the Tourism Department Rudra Singh Tamang and CEO of Nepal Tourism Board Dhananjay Regmi. The task force will also have a representative each from the finance ministry, home ministry and the ministry of general administration.
Tourism Minister Bhattarai confirmed the formation of the task force with the motive of studying the prospect of two days holiday in order to promote domestic tourism.
“Giving holidays for two days a week would facilitate in thousands of people to travel within the country for recreation. This move will definitely revitalize internal tourism of the country,” said Bhattarai.
According to Minister Bhattarai, a single day holiday would not allow people to travel to different places even if they want to do so. But holiday for two days a week would give ample time for people to visit far off places during the weekends.
Likewise, Thursday’s meeting also decided to prepare a safety protocol to reopen Pashupatinath Temple and Lumbini and present it to the Covid-19 Crisis Management Centre (CCMC) for approval.
The meeting also decided to finalize the air service agreements signed with Bangladesh, Indonesia, Russia, South Korea and Finland and present them to the cabinet.
Former CEO of Nepal Tourism Board Deepak Raj Joshi believes that domestic tourism will grow if the proposal of two-day holiday gets approved by the cabinet.
“This concept was visualized a long time ago but it was never implemented. But now the time has come to implement this concept. It will help in promoting domestic tourism,” said Joshi.
Joshi further said that foreign tourists are still willing to visit Nepal and the government must launch a campaign to send clear message that Nepal is open for visitors.