June 5: Most of the hotels in Nepal are at risk of closing their business due to the impact of Covid-19, according to Shreejana Rana, president of the Hotel Association of Nepal (HAN).
Speaking at an interaction programme, Rana added that the hotel business, one of the key sectors of the tourism industry, is facing a major threat from the pandemic. Almost 80 percent of the hotels in Nepal are dependent on bank loans. In this context, stakeholders say that government support is very crucial to sustain the industry.
Similarly, Mani Lamichhane, director of Nepal Tourism Board, said that the hotel industry contributes to the economy in terms of foreign exchange reserve and is also a major employment provider.
NTB has forwarded the request made by hoteliers regarding refinancing, financial access, and other revival plans to the concerned government department. “We are optimistic the government will address the issues,” added Lamichhane.
Likewise, he added that NTB has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with UNWTO and will finalize an agreement with the Asian Development Bank for reviving the tourism economy, he added.
Lamichanne further said that the tourism industry of Nepal is facing challenges to rebound at a time when countries like the Maldives, Turkey, Spain, and other international destinations have already resumed their tourism activities normally.
Tourism stakeholders raised a major concern that the manpower involved in the sector might switch jobs affecting the sector's professionalism if the government doesn't bring in programmes to preserve the needed human resources.
They also requested the concerned body to assure the implementation of the relief package announced in the new budget.
Similarly, Deep Raj Joshi informed that resuming tourism activities by increasing vaccination drive is the need of the hour for the tourism industry.
Stakeholders also discussed the potential of promoting Nepal for green tourism.
The government in the new budget has listed tourism in the productive sector.