Minister for Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation Posta Bahadur Bogati has said the government was aware of the problems facing the tourism industry and that it would address the problems on priority basis.
Inaugurating the 34th annual general meeting of Trekking Agencies’ Association of Nepal (TAAN) in Kathmandu, Bogati said, “If not addressed on time, these problems might hamper Nepal’s tourism image.”
On the occasion, Minister Bogati unveiled ‘TAAN Member Directory 2012’, ‘TAAN Discovering Tourism Destinations & Trekking Trails in Nepal’ and promotional DVDs of Ruby Valley Trek, Dhading and Lower Manaslu Eco Trek, Gorkha. Minister Bogati also awarded top five trekking agencies on the basis of issuance of TIMS cards.
Royal High Mountain Treks received the top position followed by Thamserku Trekking, Himalayan Encounter Treks, Swissa’s Mountain Way Treks and Exodus Treks and Expeditions.
Bogati also awarded Best Employee Award to Sona Bogati and Best Checkpoint Award to Nanda Raj Bhata and Meena Gurung, the members of Besishahar Checkpoint. The award carried purse of Rs 25,000 and Rs 10,000, respectively.
Speaking on the occasion, TAAN President Mahendra Singh Thapa urged the government to control illegal operation of trekking business. “NGOs and INGOs are openly operating large number of trekkers via Internet. They are doing business without making any contribution to the national exchequer,” Thapa said. He also said TAAN honored top agencies to discourage illegal trekking operation and encourage its member agencies.
Delivering his welcome speech, TAAN’s 1st Vice President Rana Bahadur Khadka said illegal trekking operation was becoming a chronic problem in the trekking industry. “Foreign exchange earnings from tourism sector could be affected if illegal operation of trekking business continued unabated,” Khadka said, adding: “The government must take some concrete steps to address this issue.”
Earlier, the closed session approved annual progress report for fiscal year 2068/69 presented by General Secretary Mohan Lamsal and annual financial report 2068/69 presented by Treasurer Anjan Kumar Thapa. Similarly, the AGM also approved the proposed programs and estimated budget for fiscal 2069/70.