Nepal and India are going to sign a landmark tourism deal that is expected to boost tourism bilaterally.
The deal is also expected to create an environment for injecting more investment in a big way.
The draft for the proposed memorandum of understanding (MoU) on bilateral tourism investment and cooperation prepared by the two sides is in its final stages with a joint working group giving it a final shape. A technical team comprising experts in the travel and tourism sectors from both countries has prepared a draft MoU. It is a government-to-government pact which will explore and identify areas of cooperation on mutual basis.
The draft proposes that both sides should facilitate overland travel by tourists, create hassle-free transport movement at major crossing points, and ease border formalities at the customs points.
The joint panel also suggested that Nepal cash in on the travel benefits provided to Indian holiday-makers like leave travel concession with effective coordination and cooperation with and among the India Railways and airlines to boost the market on both sides and opening of the Banbasa bridge over Sarada-Mahakali river on the India-Nepal border in western Nepal.
The joint technical team has also suggested holding an annual India-Nepal forum meeting for joint tourism promotion.
Nepal has also proposed revision of the air service agreement (ASA) with India if the existing air seats facility proves inadequate in catering to increasing movement of travelers.
According to spokesperson at the Tourism Ministry Mohan Krishna Sapkota, the deal will help bring investment, boost tourism and provide better facilities to tourists traveling to both countries as both the countries offer huge opportunities in the sector.Meanwhile, a recent Indian government move on visa liberalisation to extend the visa-on-arrival facility to travellers from nearly 180 countries from this year will also benefit Nepali tourism sector.