POKHARA, June 22: Annapurna Rural Municipality of Kaski has decided to charge each foreigner coming to the region Rs 100 in tourism tax.
Addressing a function to announce the third policy and programs of the rural municipality, Chairperson Yuvaraj Kunwar said: “The money collected shall be used in establishment of tourism information centers.”
He informed that a census of foreign visitors in Birethaati and Pothana of the rural municipality shall also be conducted.
“Large numbers of foreign and domestic tourists visit Annapurna Base Camp in favorable season. They are often clueless about the area they are in, and in the lack of proper information, they waste a lot of time,” Kunwar said, emphasizing on the need of information centers. He added that information brochures and booklets will be distributed to the tourists.
According to statistics, around 100,000 foreign tourists visit different locations in the rural municipality during the tourist season. A good number of domestic tourists is noticed as well.
Moreover, because Gandaki Provice has pronounced the year as domestic tourism year, the number of visitors is expected to rise; and there is an anticipation of larger number of tourists in the Visit Nepal Year 2020 too. Similarly, the government has plans of celebrating 2022 as international tourism year.
The chairperson also mentioned the efforts of the rural municipality in expanding lodging and restaurant facilities in order to try and make tourists extend their stay in Annapurna Base Camp.
“Tourism programs shall be operated in coordination with local tourism committees,” he said. The rural municipality also aims to promote and advertise home stays in various locations across the region such as Bhadaure, Ghandruk, Landruk, Pothana, Australian Camp, Paudurkot, and Dangsing. Information centers shall be developed in these locations, according to Kunwar.
The rural municipality has also introduced a policy of promoting Annapurna Base Camp, Hidna Lake, Mare Hill, Tadapani, Taal Chiyaune, and Garha regions and setting them as tourist landmarks. It has given special priority to expansion and maintenance of tourist trails. To ensure growth in tourism development, waste management and cleanliness shall also be taken into account, according to the policy and programs.
Further, in order to promote adventure tourism, the rural municipality also plans to give continuity to the third edition of Annapurna Marathon. The plans of extending tourists’ stay include construction of a museum representing Gurung culture, Melache Park and Nau Dada’s view tower among other physical infrastructures. Usage of any machinery for infrastructural development, above Chhomrong has been prohibited.
The rural municipality has even reduced flights of choppers and planes in a pledge to control noise pollution, except in cases of emergencies, Kunwar stated.