KATHMANDU, Jan 27: The Nepal Tourism Board (NTB) is doubling Tourism Service Fee (TSF) levied on foreigners departing from Tribhuvan International Airport (TIA) from March 1. It has been levying Rs 500 per tourist so far.
Officials of NTB argue that the hike in TSF was necessary to meet the expectations of Nepali tourism industry and to cope with the paradigm shift in the international tourism promotion and marketing.
They say price rise in the international market coupled with the devaluation of Nepali currency and stiff competition among destinations have made it difficult for NTB to compete in international market.
“The TSF has remained the same for the past nine years while the value of US dollar has increased significantly. Strong dollar increased cost of our international marketing and promotional campaigns,” Acting CEO of NTB Subash Nirola told Republica on Monday.
The government introduced TSF in 1999 to arrange fund for NTB´s promotional activities. During that time, NTB used to levy 2 percent service charge on different tourism services. However, the government changed funding mechanism on January 14, 2005 by levying TSF of Rs 500 on all foreigners exiting from TIA.
Nirola said hike in TSF would enable the NTB to concentrate more on international promotion and domestic tourism development. “With a bigger budget, NTB will now prepare and implement five-year plan to penetrate into new markets,” he added.
Around 800,000 foreign travelers leave TIA ever year. That means NTB will be able to mobilize around Rs 800 million annually once the new TSF comes into effect.
Meanwhile, Nirola has urged the Nepali travel trade industry to join hands with NTB in promoting, expanding and developing the country´s tourism industry by putting efforts to increase tourists´ length of stay, tourist arrivals and average income per visitor per day.
Source: My Republica