July 28 , 2014
The budget for fiscal year 2014/15 has taken the policy of promoting Nepal as an attractive and safe tourism destination in the world.
Unveiling the budget, Finance Minister Dr Ram Sharan Mahat said the government would promote Great Himalaya Trail that spans from Taplejung in the east to Darchula in the west. The trail connects almost all the trekking areas of the country lying in the northerner parts of the country. It goes though base camps of almost all tallest peaks in the country.
Similarly, the government has allocated Rs 7.08 billion for the construction and upgradation of various airports across the country. It plans to install necessary equipment in Janakpur, Bhadrapur and Surkhet airports so that they support take off and landing of flights during night time. Similarly, the government has earmarked Rs 500 million to start preliminary works on the second international airport in Nijgadh of Bara. The government has also unveiled plans to upgrade Biratnagar, Nepalgunj and Dhangadi airports into well-equipped regional airports.
To strengthen the national flag carrier Nepal Airlines Corporation, the government has unveiled plan to acquire 22 new aircraft (15 for domestic and 7 for international operation) within the next five years. Similarly, the government has decided to waive off income tax for next 10 years for tourism entrepreneurs constructing resorts on the banks of Rara and other major lakes across the country.
The government has allocated another Rs 3.92 billion for tourism related infrastructure development and culture promotional programs.
Commenting on the budget, TAAN General Secretary Sagar Pandey said the budget is positive for the tourism sector but added that it fails to address short-term problems seen in the tourism sector. Saying that the budget allocation of Rs 3.92 billion for infrastructure development and culture promotion is a welcome move, Pandey, however, added that the amount will be insufficient to implement programs mentioned in the budget speech. “Nepal Airlines Corporation is the mainstay of Nepali tourism industry. But it is surprising to note that the government’s five-year plan for aviation sector doesn’t speak about the management of the national flag carrier,” he said, adding that we shouldn’t expect positive outcomes without enhancing the management of NAC.