Monday, June 17, 2024

World Bank senior managing director visits Nepal

The World Bank’s senior managing director Axel van Trotsenburg arrived in Kathmandu today on his first official visit to Nepal, to meet with government and other stakeholders and chair the Third Replenishment meeting of the World Bank’s fund for low-income countries, the International Development Association (IDA).

As part of his five-day visit, today, Trotsenburg met with Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal, finance minister Barsha Man Pun, chief secretary Baikuntha Aryal, and development partners.

Trotsenburg will chair the Third IDA21 Replenishment meeting hosted by the government in Kathmandu on June 18-21. The International Development Association (IDA) is the part of the World Bank that helps the world’s low-income countries.

In 2024, IDA is working with donors and borrowing countries to replenish resources that will be used to deliver on global development goals. IDA21-- the 21st replenishment round since 1960 -- will work to end poverty on a livable planet.

The four-day IDA21 meeting in Kathmandu will bring together officials from 65 donor governments and representatives of borrowing member countries who will discuss the proposed IDA21 policy focus areas--people, planet, prosperity, infrastructure, and digitalisation. They will also look at financing scenarios, the level of donor contributions required to support these scenarios and assess the financing needs of countries supported by IDA.

Trotsenburg will also visit the IDA-financed Earthquake Housing Reconstruction Project in Rabiopi in Bagmati Province as part of the replenishment meeting.

The Third IDA21 Replenishment meeting will also be attended by other senior World Bank Group officials, including World Bank managing director for Operations Anna Bjerde and managing director and World Bank Group chief financial officer Anshula Kant.

Thursday, June 6, 2024

Government is removing VAT on air tickets

The government is working on removing the value added tax (VAT) on air tickets, according to the tourism minister.

Addressing the Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA) Nepal Chapter successfully concluded its 45th Annual General Meeting (AGM) here today, the chief guest Minister of Culture, Tourism, and Civil Aviation Hit Bahadur Tamang committed to working towards removing VAT on air tickets and other unnecessary taxes in tourism to encourage and enhance the highly potential and rewarding tourism sector.

Shared the government’s target of attracting 1.6 million tourists in 2024 and inviting the private sector to introduce new and creative tourism products in international source markets to boost tourist influx Tamang also expressed his happiness at the unanimous election of the new executive committee of PATA Nepal Chapter, noting that such unity is rare among institutions and organisations in the country nowadays.

PATA Nepal Chapter successfully concluded its 45th Annual General Meeting (AGM) today at Park Village Resort under the theme 'Nepal Tourism 2.0: Charting the Future Course.'

The AGM also unanimously elected the new executive committee, with Khem Raj Lakai, chief executive of the Global Academy of Tourism and Hospitality Education (GATE), as chairman. He succeeds Bibhuti Chand Thakur, who was elected chairman on December 18, 2019, and remains in the executive committee as the Immediate Past chairman.

“I am deeply honoured and humbled by this opportunity," said Lakai after his appointment as chair of PATA Nepal Chapter. "It is with profound gratitude and a great sense of responsibility that I step into the role of chairman of PATA," he said, adding, "Being entrusted with the legacy of this esteemed institution is a privilege."

Lakai's association with PATA spans several years in different positions including as a board of trustee of the PATA Foundation, and PATA HQ elected Board member, including extensive service within the PATA Nepal Chapter.

PATA Nepal founding father the late Prabahakar SJB Rana, who brought this wonderful organisation to Nepal and continuously nurtured by amazing leaders of our industry has been honoured on the occasion.

Rana's vision of connecting Nepal to the world now rests on our shoulders, Lakai said, adding that unity is crucial for Nepal in all spectrum of professions. "Once united, we can transform the narrative of our beautiful nation and inspire the world."

Accordingly, the AGM also unanimously elected general secretary Narendra Dev Bhatta (managing director of Heritage Tours and Travel), treasurer Reetal Rana (managing director of Mid Valley International College), and executive members including Lakhpa Phuti Sherpa (founder of Luxury DMC Travel), Rupesh Joshi (director of Buddha Air), Binod Adhikari (director of Aarya village Travels), Sunil Bahadur Bhattrai (executive director of Busy Bee Cafe), Himmat Puri (director of Destinago Tours and Travel), Sarita Lama (managing director of Off The wall Trekking) and Tenzing Peyang  Lama (director of Hotel Lhasa International (Dusit Princess Kathmandu).

During the AGM, PATA Nepal Chapter also elected 4 proxy members to its executive committee including Smritee Kala Pant  (head of BHM/BHTM of Little Angels’ College of Management), Prakash Chandra Lohani (chairman of Alpine Rescue Service), Suman Ghimire (executive director of Jungle Safari lodge), and Imu Regmi (director of Basera Boutique Hotel). 

The executive committee also comprises of 4 Ex officio members including director general of Department of Tourism, director general of Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal, corporate director of Nepal Airlines, and representative of Nepal Tourism Board (NTB).

During the formal function and Annual Award Presentation Ceremony in the evening, PATA Nepal Chapter awarded Ambica Shrestha (president of Dwarika's Hotels and Resorts) and Shyam Bahadur Pandey (founder of Hotel Shangrila) with the prestigious 'PATA Lifetime Achievement Award 2024'.

The recognition honours their devoted years of exceptional voluntary service, leadership, significant contributions, and invaluable dedication to the association and the tourism and hospitality industry in Nepal, according to a press note issued by the PATA Nepal Chapter.

Likewise, Lakpa Sonam Sherpa (chairman of Yeti Group) has been rewarded with 'PATA Tourism Trailblazer Award 2024' for his exceptional leadership, pioneering initiatives, and outstanding contributions to promoting, expanding, and developing the tourism industry in Nepal.

Bharat Basnet (founder of Explore Nepal) has been bestowed with the 'PATA Personality of the Year 2024' Award for his unconditional support, persistent activism, advocacy, and commendable engagement towards the promotion and sustainable development of Nepal's tourism sector, as well as his invaluable contributions to the association over the years. 

Similarly, Narendra Deo Bhatta (founder of Heritage Tours and Travels) was honoured with the 'PATA Special Contribution Award 2024' for his unwavering commitment and remarkable contributions to Nepalese tourism, as well as his exceptional legal guidance and support to the association.

Likewise, The Premiere Hotel School, Itahari, received the 'PATA Best Student Chapter of the Year 2023' Award in recognition of their dedication and contributions in engaging with the initiatives and events of the PATA Nepal Chapter throughout 2023.

During the programme, Prof Dr Wolfgang Georg Arlt (founder of Meaningful Tourism Center) delivered the keynote speech on 'Nepal Tourism 2.0,' sharing the manifesto of outcomes from the Experts Roundtable Meet organised by the PATA Nepal Chapter yesterday (June 5).

On behalf of the Meaningful Tourism Center based in Germany, he presented the Meaningful Tourism Award (Gold) to the Community Homestay Network, Tiger Mountain Pokhara Lodge, and KGH Group of Hotels and Resorts.

Similarly, the Nepal Academy of Tourism and Hotel Management received the Meaningful Tourism Award (Silver), while the Nepal Airlines Corporation and Hotel Himalaya received the Meaningful Tourism Award (Bronze).

The outgoing chairman Bibhuti Chand Thakur extended thanks to all the members and stakeholders of Nepal's tourism for the continued collaboration and support to the association; inviting and requesting all present to work together for sustainable growth and development of tourism in the country.