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November 6, 2020

Tourism activities resume from mid-November: Minister Bhattarai

Kathmandu: Minister for Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation Yogesh Kumar Bhattarai said that all sort of tourism activities would be resumed from mid-November.

Minister Bhattarai, who arrived here for inspection of Kangeldanda Airport at Thulung Dudhkoshi Rural Municipality-2 in the district on Friday, reiterated that all the tourism activities would resume adhering to the health safety protocols put in place by the government to contain the spread of COVID-19.

The year 2021 would be observed as a revival year for tourism in the country. Tourism industry, according to the annual World Travel and Tourism Council research paper, had contributed 7.9 per cent to the country’s gross production (meaning over Rs 240.7 billion in revenue) in the fiscal year 2018/19 which translates into generation of some 1.5 million jobs directly and indirectly.

All the tourism related activities were suspended since the nationwide lockdown imposed by the federal government on March 24 this year to stem the spread of COVID-19.

According to the Minister, the Kangeldanda Airport would come into operation again from mid-November. At least one flight would be operated from and to the airport in a week in coordination with the local units.

The airport had been shut down for nearly five years owing to various reasons. On the occasion, federal lawmaker Hem Kumar Rai ‘Surbir’ expressed his confidence that the airport would be upgraded following the inspection from the Minister for Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation.

Similarly, Nepal Communist Party’s Province-1 parliamentary party’s chief whip Buddi Kumar Rajbhandari asserted that the airport should be run regularly in support and grant of all three-tier government.

He viewed that flights from Kathmandu to Kangel and Biratnagar to Kangel could be operated once the airport becomes fully operational. Another State Assembly Member Uttam Basnet said that the expansion of roads in many villages in the locality had laid a strong basis for the reoperation of the Kangeldanda Airport.

The airport was operative from 2063 BS to 2072 BS. Minister Bhattarai also inspected the location at Mahakulung where the airport would be constructed in coming days.

He pledged to allocate budget for the airport in the next fiscal year. The airport would facilitate the tourists arriving here for climbing Mera Peak and trekking in the Mundum trail.

Mahakulung Rural Municipality Chair Sagar Kirati underscored the need to construct an airport in their locality, stating that the airport was linked with the living standard of the locals (RSS).

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