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National Tourism Fair postponed

Nepal Tourism Board (NTB) today formally postponed National Tourism Fair scheduled for May 2 bowing to the demands of Joint Tourism Coordination Committee (JTCC).

The JTCC – a forum of 19 travel trade associations – has today organised a sit-in in front of Nepal Tourism Board (NTB) asking to postpone the three-day national fair and fulfil their demands.

They have also asked the government to study the report prepared by the taskforce constituted by th then tourism minister of 2006 and restructure the board. They have also requested the government to investigate into expenses made over the last five years by the board, apart from removal of incumbent acting chief executive Subash Niraula.

The board has doubled the tourism service fee – that it collects from tourists departing from Tribhuvan International Airport – to Rs 1,000 from March 1, which is expected to balloon the board’s budget to Rs 1.21 billion. “The board has huge resources but it has failed to promote Nepal and has been involved in the massive financial irregularities,” they added.

The protestors had forwarded a four-point demand on April 22 to minister for Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation Bhim Acharya. They have asked the minister to restructure the board and appoint a private sector represensative on the tourism board’s board.

The 19 travel trade entrepreneurs including Trekking Agencies’ Association of Nepal (TAAN), Hotel Association of Nepal (HAN), Nepal Association of Tours and Travel Agents (NATTA), Nepal Association of Tour Operators (NATO), Nepal Mountaineering Association (NMA), Nepal Association of Rafting Agents (NARA), Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA) Nepal Chapter, Himalayan Rescue Association (HRA), Expeditions Operators Association Nepal (EOA Nepal), Village Tourism Promotion Forum Nepal (VIToF), Thamel Tourism Development Council (TTDC), Association for Tourism, Pokhara Tourism Development Committee, Association of Kailash Tour Operators, Tourist Bus Association of Nepal, Nepal Tourist Vehicles Association, National Tourism Entrepreneurs Association of Nepal (NEAT Nepal), Nepal National Tourism Entrepreneurs Organizations and UCPN Maoist Tourism Sector Committee have joined hands in the protest against the board, which they have blamed for being involved in massive corruption.

According to the general secretary of TAAN Sagar Pandey, they will continue their protest until their all demands are met.