19-pt declaration prioritizes tourism

Nepal Economic SummitThe 19-point declaration issued at the end of the Nepal Economic Summit issued on February 26, prioritizes three key issues agriculture, tourism and energy.

In tourism, the declaration aims to increase private sector investment by developing infrastructures. In the declaration, the government and the private sector have said that they would lay special focus on up-gradation of Tribhuwan International Airport, construction of regional airports in Lumbini, Nijgadh and Pokhara.

For the airports, the government and the private sector have agreed to adopt public private partnership model. “These airports construction will be announced in the upcoming budget and private sector will be invited through open bids to participate in their construction and management. We will work on inviting the private sector through open bids for better management of services at Tribhuwan International Airport,” the declaration states.

Similarly, the government and the private sector have agreed to work on improving air safety through regulations and upgrading infrastructural facilities at existing airports. “Specific programs on air safety will also be announced in the upcoming budget,” said the declaration.

The declaration also envisages putting in place a favorable framework for tourism development that complements not only conservation and bio-diversity but also allows us to earn revenue to make the conservation sustainable. “This kind of framework will define specific rules and regulations under which private sector can participate in developing high value tourism products in the conservation areas,” the declaration states. “In developing such kind of framework, learning from experiences of countries that have already used this mechanism in tourism promotion will be used.”

The declaration aims to increase per capita spending of foreign tourists to US$ 60 from existing $36 by expanding tourism products and services. As per the declaration, five strategic locals would be selected to develop them as tourist destinations by the end of 2016. In choosing these locations, we will work extensively on strategic studies that assess the market viability of these locations. “We will ensure the inclusion of Lumbini, Janakpur, and three locations from far east and far west region in these five locations,” states the declaration.

Similarly, the declaration aims to adopt a value chain approach to the development of these destinations and ensure community involvement to enlarge the beneficiary group that results from this expansion.

The agenda set by the summit would be taken forward by the government and the private sector through joint forums like the Nepal Business Forum (NBF), according to a statement.

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