Friday, July 3, 2020

Tourism and aviation sector incurs Rs 34 billion loss

The tourism and aviation sector has incurred around Rs 34 billion during the period of lockdown, according to a report.
A committee including representatives from Nepal Tourism Board (NTB) and Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal (CAAN) reported that the industry might have incurred an average of Rs 10 billion loss per month. “The loss is projected to swell by an extra Rs 7 billion as of July 22,” the committee formed by the government to study the loss incurred by the sector due to lockdown following Covid-19 outbreak.
The tourism and aviation sector has been hit hard by the global travel restriction, which has brought the tourism and aviation business to a halt.
The report has been handed over to National Planning Commission (NPC) by the Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation (MoCTCA) today. The government has set up a Rs 50 billion fund – according to the budget for the next fiscal year – for the Covid-19 affected tourism industry and small and medium enterprises (SMEs). The fund will be set up for the sectors to provide loans at five per cent interest rate for both operation of industries and payment of salaries to the workers. The budget for the next fiscal year 2020-21 has allocated Rs 200 million to work on the rehabilitation programme and on the concept of sustainable tourism development.
Nepal Tourism Board (NTB) has also prepared and issued an ‘Operational Guideline with Health Protocol for Tourism Sector’ for the reopening of the tourism industry. They will need to implement workplace safety protocols, which could include providing masks, maintaining social distancing, physical workspace modifications, and screening and tracing protocols, according to the guideline.
Speaking at a press conference today, minister for Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation Yogesh Bhattarai said that the tourism businesses have to open with enough safety precautions. “We have issued the protocol for the tourism industry to make the businesses safe and reliable,” he said, adding that the protocol for the aviation sector is also ready. “The airlines operators along with airport operators will follow them when the service resumes.”
The government has extended the time for filing the VAT for hotels to four months, he said, adding that the ministry has also recommended a 75 per cent discount on aircraft parking fee and 50 per cent discount on acquiring license and license renewal fee.

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