April 21: The tourism sector of Nepal has had to bear losses of Rs 160 billion due to the coronavirus pandemic, according to an initial estimate. The concerned authorities are collecting data to prepare an integrated report.
Tourism entrepreneurs say that lack of integrated data made it difficult to ascertain the actual extent of losses and in receiving relief announced by the government.
Speaking at a video conference organised by the Society of Economic Journalists of Nepal (SEJON) on the topic of ‘Effects of coronavirus on the tourism sector of Nepal and the way forward’ on Monday, Tourism Minister Yogesh Bhattarai said that the government lacks data on the total investment made in the tourism sector of Nepal. He said that the government is currently collecting data.
“After we collect data, we will get a clear picture about the investment made in this sector, loan provided by banks, the number of people employed in tourism industry and the impact of coronavirus,” said Minister Bhattarai.
Minister Bhattarai said that the government is preparing to include relief package for the tourism sector in the upcoming budget considering this sector as a vital contributor to the country’s economy. He said that the Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation has been holding discussions with the finance ministry and the National Planning Commission to announce relief package for revitalizing the tourism sector.
Meanwhile, former CEO of Nepal Tourism Board Deepak Raj Joshi opined that the private sector and the government must work hand-in-hand to revitalize the tourism sector which has badly been affected by coronavirus.