Kathmandu: The syndicate system along the highways has once again hit the tourism industry.
Though Nepal Association of Tour and Travel Agents (NATTA) announced the operation of tourist shuttle service from Pokhara to Chitwan, local committees along the highway once again obstructed the movement of tourist vehicles. According to NATTA, the government has turned a deaf ear to their continuous request to ban the syndicate system.
NATTA Pokhara Chapter and tourism entrepreneurs from Chitwan had jointly agreed to start tourist bus service along the Pokhara-Chitwan route. However, local committees along the highway obstructed the tourist bus service on Monday.
The association has also demanded the government to address the syndicate problem in the Pokhara–Bhairahawa route and allow easy operation of tourist shuttle bus services. “Though the government confirms there is no syndicate in the route, the local committee has banned scheduled tourist bus services,” an official of NATTA stated.
NATTA has also applied to operate tourist shuttle bus service along Pokhara–Bhairahawa route with an aim to promote Visit Lumbini Year 2012. Due to the syndicate system which still exists along the highway between Pokhara and Bhairahawa, tour and travel operators have been forced to operate only a few private vehicles to ferry tourists to and from Pokhara and Bhairahawa.
According to NATTA, unless the government assures a complete ban on syndicate, tour and travel agencies will be unable to promote either domestic tourism or various other tourist destinations. The new travel and tour strategy is to increase the number of tourists to and from Pokhara and Bhairahawa and also increase the stay period of tourists visiting either of the two places.
NATTA has plans to operate 3-4 scheduled tourist buses that will run along the Pokhara–Chitwan–Bhairahawa route and increase the frequency of the shuttle service according to demand to promote domestic tourism.
The association has also demanded an amendment to the ‘Tourist Transport Service Business Registration and Operation Procedure 2068’ which prohibits using tourist vehicles for any other purpose once they have been registered as tourist vehicles.
It has also claimed that the use of private vehicles and guides, especially by tourists of neighbouring countries, has undermined the professional security of tourist guides and tourist vehicle service providers.Source: The Himalayan Times