International Finance Corporation (IFC) – a member of the World Bank Group – is working with the government to improve food safety standards at hotels and restaurants and spur tourism spending in the country.
"The Nepali hospitality sector must focus on quality services to fully realise the country’s great potential in tourism,” said director at the Department of Commerce and Supply Management Hari Narayan Belbase. "Improved inspection will help hospitality entrepreneurs improve standards and become more profitable."
The initiative will help the government reform its food safety inspection activities, and adopt international best practices and standards.
The initiative kicked off with a three-day workshop, that ended yesterday, in which frontline market inspectors from key government agencies were trained on market monitoring and inspection techniques.
Inspectors learned that a risk-based approach to food safety allowed them to focus limited resources on high-priority high-risk areas.
SouthAsia Enterprise Development Facility, managed by IFC in partnership with the UK Government and the Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation, is supporting the initiative.
Experts in inspection reform from the UK government’s Better Regulation Delivery Office are working with IFC to study inspection and enforcement techniques for the tourism industry and build capacity in the concerned government agencies. They will also help develop and support new and existing citizen empowerment approaches to food safety in the country.
"Due to limited regulations and standards for tourism services, tourist spending per day is low in Nepal,” said IFC resident representative in Nepal Val S Bagatsing. "Elevated safety standards for food in eateries can be a starting point for the government to improve standards across a range of services that impact tourism spending.”
IFC in Nepal is committed to strengthening private sector growth, promoting a supportive regulatory framework, boosting investment, and creating more jobs in the country.A member of the World Bank Group, IFC is the largest global development institution focused exclusively on the private sector. Working with private enterprises in more than 100 countries, it uses its capital, expertise, and influence to help eliminate extreme poverty and promote shared prosperity. In the fiscal year 2013, its investments climbed to an all-time high of nearly $25 billion, leveraging the power of the private sector to create jobs and tackle the world’s most pressing development challenges.