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May 18, 2020

NTB recommendations for survival of tourism industry

Kathmandu: As Nepal passes through the tribulations of COVID-19 pandemic, Nepal Tourism Board (NTB) has made three major recommendations to the Government of Nepal for the survival of tourism industry.

A press statement released by NTB on May 17 said these major recommendations highlight: 1) Rs. 20 billion Job Retention Fund for Tourism Workforce, 2) Financial Support to the tourism enterprises and 3) Policy Intervention.

According to the first recommendation, tourism workers should present some testimonials like last three month salary deposited in a bank, PAN registration certificate, TDS payment proof or Social Security Fund (SSF).

The second recommendation is about Interest Rate Reduction (base rate or base rate +1%). Tourism Industry requires more preference as it is reeling under financial crisis.

Likewise, there should be loan repayments deferment for the last 3 years. There should be a one year facility for Interest Capitalization. Facility for additional loan against existing collateral is recommended (2.5 million each firm). There should be a rebate on electricity charge and waiver on electricity demand charges.

Regarding Policy Intervention, in order to keep the industry afloat through domestic tourism, it mainly introduces mandatory Leave Travel Concession (LTC) or Tourism Travel Leave provision for all the civil servants, security personnel, employees of corporations, authorities, semi government organizations, banking sector and corporate sectors etc. either through direct cash amount support or through income tax rebate on the expense amount designated for LTC, said the NTB statement.

“With this provision, it is assumed that the movement of 1.7 million people can make Rs. 53 billion expenditure on domestic travel,” said the statement.

Another recommendation for policy intervention is that contribution on tourism promotion and infrastructure development should be considered as Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) expenses with the necessary provision in Industrial Enterprise Act and Nepal Rastra Bank circular.

There should also be a deferment of tax payment for next 6 months for tourism entrepreneurs.  Nepal Tourism Board believes that if these major recommendations for the survival of tourism industry are incorporated in the forthcoming budget and programs of Government of Nepal for the fiscal year 2077/078, Nepal’s tourism industry can survive this global pandemic and revive in the aftermaths, added the statement.

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