KATHMANDU, Oct 16: The government is planning to amend the Tourism Act 1978 and update it to meet the current needs of the tourism industry.

Speaking at the 37th annual general meeting (AGM) of the Trekking Agencies Association of Nepal (TAAN), Dinesh Kumar Shrestha, the secretary at the Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation (MoCTCA), said the ministry was working on points to include in the amendment bill considering need of the time.

"The existing act has, in some cases, hindered professional growth of different tourism-related organizations and the tourism industry as a whole as it is not current. I assure you that the new act will solve the various problems which are stunting the growth of this industry which helps in bringing in foreign currency," Shrestha said.

Tourism is challenging, adventurous and risky job at times, and TAAN should implement the concept of Social Security, now a constitutional right, for the security of workers in the trekking sector, he said, adding that this would help stop the brain drain in the industry as workers would have long-term security right here in their country. This would also support in employment generation, he said.

Saying that the existing problems would soon be solved, former Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba, who was the chief guest at the event, said the private sectors should unite and work together to create an investment-friendly environment where the tourism industry could also flourish.

TAAN President Ramesh Dhamala said Nepal should exploring 'hidden tourism products' that are unexploited yet and could attract millions more tourists to Nepal.

Sagar Pandey, the current general secretary of TAAN and a candidate for its presidency, also brought attention to the outdatedness of the Tourism Act and called for timely amendment to it for the development of the industry. He also urged the government to assist in the making of a Tourism Master Plan with assistance of the National Planning Commission.

Pandey — of Himalayan Glacier Trekking, is vying for the top post with Chandra Rijal of See-Nepal Travel and Adventure in the election held Thursday for the association's executive committee.


Published on: My Republica (Oct 16, 2015)