Too much duty on tourist carriers


KATHMANDU: To give a much needed boost to the government ambitious campaign — Nepal Tourism Year 20100— Nepal Association of Tour and Travel Agents (NATTA) has said that relaxation of the customs duty imposed on the purchase of tourist vehicles is a must.

Though the government has announced NTY 2011 as one of its most ambitious campaigns ever, it has not been able to offer tax exemption for tourism entrepreneurs to buy sufficient tourist vehicles, tour operators and travel agents have said. According to Hari Sarmah, chief executive officer at NATTA, the association is lobbying to get number of issues addressed by the government for NTY 2011. “One of the issues at hand is to activate provision to buy tourist vehicles on 50 per cent discount in customs duty rates,” said Sarmah. “There was a facility for 50 per cent tax exemption in the purchase of tourist vehicles but the government has not allowed this to happen thereby limiting the purchase of number of tourist vehicles to replace the old ones.

Tourist vehicles were given green number plates but the dearth of tourist vehicles has prompted the tour and travel operators here to use vehicles with red number plates for ferrying tourists. And in doing so, the tour operators have to face routine hurdles, Sarmah added.

Tourist coaches that are purchased under the tax exemption scheme can be used only up to 10 years. A high-level committee that was formed three years ago, made a decision regarding the import of tourist vehicles. However the recommendation of the committee is now gathering dust without its implementation. One such recommendation then made by the committee was pertaining to arrangement for transfer of the vehicles used for up to five years. Sadly, however, there has not been any move taken in this direction by the government.

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