The Nepal Tourism Board (NTB) is doubling Tourism Service Fee (TSF) levied on foreigners departing from Tribhuvan International Airport (TIA) to Rs 1,000 from March 1.
Issuing a press statement, NTB said the hike in TSF was necessary to meet the expectations of Nepali tourism industry and to cope with the paradigm shift in international tourism marketing and promotion.
So far, NTB was collecting Rs 500 per foreigner departing from TIA. The government had introduced TSF in 1999 to arrange fund for NTB´s promotional activities. During that time, NTB used to levy 2 percent service charge on different tourism services. The government changed the funding mechanism on January 14, 2005, allowing NTB to levy Rs 500 on all foreigners exiting from TIA.
NTB officials argue that price rise in the international market and depreciation of Nepali currency vis-à-vis US dollar as well as stiff competition among destinations have made it difficult for it to compete in international market.
NTB believes the hike in TSF would enable it to concentrate more on international promotion as well as develop tourism infrastructures in different parts of the country.
During its 15th anniversary celebration recently, acting CEO of NTB Subash Nirola had said that the national tourism organization was preparing a five-year plan forfor effective marketing and promotion of Nepali tourism products and services in international arena. “A long-term plan will help the board know where its stands and where it plans to be,” he had said.
With the fresh hike in TSF, NTB will be able to mobilize around Rs 800 million a year.