Kathmandu: Tourism entrepreneurs of Pokhara have called for operation of international flights from the recently-inaugurated Pokhara International Airport with Minister for Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation Sudan Kirati.
Pokhara International Airport was inaugurated with pomp and show on January 1. However, international flights have not been operated from that airport ever since.
On Friday, tourism entrepreneurs of Pokhara asked the Minister the reason behind the failure of the government to operate flights from the international airport during an interaction on tourism organized by the Pokhara Tourism Council. They asked him why the federal government has not taken initiatives for conducting international flights and from when such flights would be started.
On the occasion, Minister Kirati said that he has been taking initiative for starting the international flights from Pokhara. Describing Pokhara as an outstanding destination and a tourism university, he said he has taken much interest in its development. The Tourism Minister also reiterated that he was positive towards resolving the problems seen in the tourism sector.
Nepal Tourism Board (NTB) chief executive officer Dhananjaya Regmi said that the Board Members have not presented the agenda of infrastructure development for tourism promotion and hence the amount allocated for tourism promotion has been left unspent. He was responding to the tourism entrepreneurs’ question regarding the amount allocated for tourism promotional activities not spent as the NTB has failed to prepare its work procedures.
Tourism entrepreneur Ganesh Bhattarai said there was haste in inaugurating the international airport in Pokhara without completing the necessary homework for starting the international flights. He urged the federal government to take the necessary initiatives to that end. NTB Gandaki chief Kasiram Bhandari clarified that there was a problem in spending the allocated amount for tourism promotion as he was not authorized to release the amount in the absence of the work procedures.
Pokhara Tourism Council chairperson Pom Narayan Shrestha said the delay in starting the international flights from the airport has dampened the enthusiasm of the tourism entrepreneurs of Pokhara. Among other problems facing the tourism sector, he pointed out a lack of concrete tourism policy on the part of the government and the hefty interest rate charged by the financial institutions and the pressure they are exerting on the tourism entrepreneurs.
Mahabir Pun of the National Incubation Centre stressed on the need for research for the development of the tourism sector.(RSS)