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- 21 Feb, 2013

Call for increasing tourist facilities at heritage sites

Tourism entrepreneurs and representatives of the various World Heritage Sites have agreed to work together for the conservation of such sites and upgrade tourist facilities and services there.


Welcoming the participants to an interaction, President of the Nepal Association of Tour Operators (NATO) said that the association has been ready to join hands with the heritage sites for upgrading tourist facilities.


"The heritage sites located inside the Kathmandu Valley could help contribute to increasing the stay of tourists in the country by opening new areas to them. The increase in the stay of tourists can contribute to the national economy," Pokharel said.


The interaction was organized by the NATO at its Secretariat at Kumari Marg, Naxal, Kathmandu on Sunday (February 17, 2013).


Urging the heritage sites to add facilities and services for tourists, he suggested that such sites should offer basic facilities such as the first aid, drinking water and toilet.


Showing his concern over the frequent increments of entrance fees by the heritage sites, he asked them to inform tour operators about such decisions at least six months before.


Hari Kumar Shrestha, Programme Manager at the Kathmandu Metropolitan City (KMC), informed that the KMC has planned to expand the Basantpur area up to Teku as there are many heritages sites in the area.


Shrestha also said that the KMC has removed tea shops from the Kathmandu Durbar Square and stopped the people from distributing feeds to pigeons as part of its programme to keep the heritage site neat and clean.


According to him, the KMC is working out plans for the management of the Rani Pokhari and the Mahankal Temple as well.


Similarly, Sarbagya Ratna Tuladhar, President of the Swayambhu Management and Conservation Federation, said the organization has remained effortful in conserving the historical places and the religious forest in the area.


"We are coordinating with the different agencies in order to work on adding tourist attractions in Swayambhu area," Tuladhar said.


He further suggested that such meetings should be held at the heritage sites so as to make them more effective.


Niran Kumar Rajbanshi, museum officer at the Patan Durbar Square, said that efforts were underway to upgrade facilities and services at the heritage site.


"We are working closely with the Lalipur Sub-Metropolitan City for adding more facilities to the Patan Durbar Square," Rajbanshi said.


Similarly, Gautam Lasiwa, tourism officer at the Bhaktapur Municipality, said that the organization has taken the initiative to construct more toilets at the Dattatreya Temple and other conservation areas.


"We are going to train local tour guides as well," Lasiwa said.


Tshering Dorje Lama, Executive Director of the Bouddhanath Area Development Committee, informed that the organization would not revise entrance fees for the next four/five years.


"We will increase the entrance fees only after holding consultations with the stakeholders," Lama said.


He also said that the organization is in the process of constructing some toilet-cum-bathrooms.


Prem Hari Dhungana, Deputy Director at the Pashupati Area Development Trust (PADT), said that the PADT, in association with the Tourist Police, has initiated the process of checking unauthorized tourist guides.


"We also are conducting training for tourist guides so that they could provide authentic information about the various monuments and shrines located in the Pashupatinath area," Dhungana said.


He also said that the organization is constructing toilets, information centre and halls.


"We are planning to introduce a pilgrim service centre in order to facilitate the visitors," he said.


On the occasion, Achyut Guragain, General Secretary of the Nepal Association of Tour & Travel Agents (NATTA) and Hare Ram Baral, President of the Tourist Guide Association of Nepal (TURGAN), also called for improving tourist facilities and services at the heritage sites.


Also present at the interaction included Manohar SJB Rana, 1st Vice-President of NATO, Yadav Khanal, 2nd Vice-President of the association and Treasurer of the association B. B. Malla, and Executive Committee Member of NATTA Raja Shakya.


Source : Nato News Letter

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