A meeting held today at the Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation (MoCTCA) has decided to submit a proposal to the Cabinet regarding two days of leave in a week for civil servants.

The ministry has taken such a decision to address the demands of tourism stakeholders who have been lobbying for the implementation of a two-day leave in a week system to promote domestic tourism.

The meeting held today has also formed a task force coordinated by Joint Secretary of the MoCTCA Pradip Kumar Koirala and comprising Rudra Singh Tamang, director general of Department of Tourism (DoT), and Dhananjay Regmi, CEO of Nepal Tourism Board (NTB). The task force will also comprise of a representative each from the Ministry of Finance, Ministry of Home Affairs and Ministry of General Administration.

The task force has been directed to conduct a study on the possibility of providing two days’ leave a week to government employees and submit the report as soon as possible. However, the task force has not been given any deadline to submit its report.

Tourism entrepreneurs have been raising this issue for a very long time. A recent survey conducted by NTB had also recommended the government to implement such a policy. The NTB study had also suggested the government to provide allowance to civil servants and implement a policy of travel leave.

The MoCTCA, along with NTB and DoT, will jointly prepare several programmes for the revival of the tourism industry that has been severely affected by the COVID-19 pandemic and the lockdown and prohibitory orders imposed by the government to stem the spread of the virus.

Meanwhile, the meeting has also decided to prepare health safety protocols to reopen Pashupatinath Temple, Lumbini and other museums for the public. As per the ministry, the prepared protocols will be submitted to the COVID-19 Crisis Management Centre (CCMC) to get permission to open the aforementioned places for the public.

The meeting also directed the aviation division of MoCTCA and Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal to submit a report on the revision of the fare for air turbine fuel and airfare. Besides, the meeting has also decided to sign air services agreements with Bangladesh, Indonesia, Russia, Korea and Finland.

A version of this article appears in print on September 25, 2020 of The Himalayan Times.

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