- Khum Bahadur Subedi (TAAN Chairperson)
I am involved with Trekking Agencies’ Association of Nepal (TAAN) since 2000. I have worked for TAAN as a member from 2007-2009, as a treasurer from 2007 -2011 and as a senior most Vice Chairperson from 20017-2019 and currently, I am elected chairperson of TAAN for the period 2019-2021.
Now, I am committed to take TAAN to a new height and destination as a flight captain rather than a flight attendant or flight staff. I will be able to lead my TAAN team members and work for their overall welfare as a chairman. I would also like to contribute substantially towards TAAN’s legacy and development with whatever expertize I have.
During the previous years I supported the previous TAAN chairpersons like Jyoti Adhikari and Nab Raj Dahal with all my best possible caliber which I could exhibit for the development of TAAN including my support for the then Prime Ministers Madhav Kumar Nepal’s top cabinet meeting which was enjoyed a wide media coverage.
TAAN is around 1800 members based organization. So, naturally there are challenges for us. But I am committed to face these challenges and correct any errors that crop up in our organization.
I am ready to listen to any kind of complaints during my tenure. And to fulfill my commitment towards TAAN job and responsibilities I have fully entrusted other colleagues to carryon on with my personal and organization business activities so that I am able to give my full time to TAAN only.
TAAN is currently discussing to solve some of the issues related to Tax, Vat, employees’ wages, social security, Annapurna, Langtang, Pasang lhamu, tourist check posts, which are expected to be sorted out within few months.
I am confident that we will be able to settle down these petty issues in close coordination with members, tourism ministry, government and concerned stakeholders in course of time. Some of the improvements have already started appearing.
For example, no tourists should be sent on expedition without guides. For job creation, guides should be taken. We have already conveyed our message regarding this to the Tourism Minister. We hope that the tourism Minister will implement these agendas most effectively. We think positively and expect that our unheard voices will be heard for the sake of tourism.
Difference in tourism past and present
There is huge difference between past and present tourism sector. When I came to tourism sector as a guide it was completely different experience. We are not against the development of roads and village people. However, the roads now are accessible everywhere, but the concept of tourist friendly and environment friendly roads have not been applied.
Exploration of new destination
Now, we are not focusing on Everest and Annapurna and Langtang areas as they are already developed and promoted. TAAN now has the vision to promote places like far western Karnali and Taplejung in far eastern Nepal.
Definitely, Everest trekking trail is one of the old and traditional routes that we have been selling for ages. But we have also tried to find new trekking destinations like Gorkha’s Chun valley, Pancha Pokhari and few spots in Dolpa.
Now we have to find out why few tourists only visit these new tourist destinations. New federal structure of the country also demands new way of approaching tourism sector in provinces and local bodies. Even the remote villages are worth for tourism destinations.
TAAN will support the local bodies in exploring new destinations and developing new tourism infrastructures by setting aside their government budgets for the development of infrastructure in the provinces as tourism can be the best medium of bringing prosperity in the country.
Price variation in tour operation
The industry is completely digitalized these days. In fact the tour operators’ price variation is caused by the type of services that a tourist usually seeks to enjoy during his or her tour in Nepal. In other words the price variation is affected by the particular tourist’s budget for a particular destination.
For example, if a tourist comes to us and wants to go to the Everest with simple logistic management facilities, how can we stop him from going to Everest. So some operators sell Everest for 8000 dollars and some for 2000 dollars.
Role of TAAN in Visit Nepal 2020
TAAN will act as right hand of the government in fulfilling the mission of Nepal visit 2020. We also call upon our members to offer a discount of at least up to 15% to the tourists in all tour operations. We are committed to bring at least 8,00,000 tourists in Nepal during the visit year 2020.
Why tourists should visit Nepal during 2020 is the major question to be responded with whatever possible facilities we can offer to the potential visitors.
We have asked government to relax visa charges, taxes and make few tax free and permit free decisions to effect the outcome of the Visit year 2020.
(This article is based on a conversation with Khum Bahadur Subedi, the Chairperson of Trekking Agencies’ Association of Nepal (TAAN)
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