Tourism ties

Southasia - - BRIEFING -

Nepal and In­dia are poised to sign a mem­o­ran­dum of un­der­stand­ing (MoU) on in­vest­ment and co­op­er­a­tion in the tourism sec­tor. The draft, jointly pre­pared by a team of tourism sec­tor ex­perts from both coun­tries, rec­om­mends has­sle-free trans­port move­ment at ma­jor bor­der points and eas­ing of fron­tier for­mal­i­ties at the cus­toms. It also rec­om­mends open­ing of the Ban­basa Bridge on the NepalIn­dia bor­der for more than 12 hours from the cur­rent three hours a day to fa­cil­i­tate tourists, es­pe­cially those who visit Nepal from In­dia. In­dia is the largest tourist source mar­ket for Nepal, which re­ceived 174,146 vis­i­tors from In­dia in 2012, among whom 122,775 be­ing first-time vis­i­tors.

Nepal’s Tourism Sec­re­tary, Sushil Ghimire, said that the coun­try’s Min­istry of Tourism is ready to re­vise the air ser­vice agree­ment with In­dia if the ex­ist­ing air seat fa­cil­ity is not ad­e­quate, given the in­creas­ing move­ment of trav­el­ers. “On be­half of my min­istry, I will leave no stone un­turned to fa­cil­i­tate and ad­dress or con­vince the Nepal gov­ern­ment on the need for the MoU be­tween the two gov­ern­ments,” he said. The newly-ap­pointed In­dian Am­bas­sador to Nepal, Ran­jeet Rae, said that he would send rec­om­men­da­tions to ad­dress the tourism sec­tor of both coun­tries.

Ef­fec­tive co­or­di­na­tion with In­dian rail­ways and air­lines was among other rec­om­men­da­tions. Hold­ing of an­nual Nepal-In­dia tourism fo­rum meet­ings to ex­plore pos­si­bil­i­ties of a joint tourism pro­mo­tion abroad is also rec­om­mended.

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