TURGAN wants service charge rise


KATHMANDU: Tourist Guide Association of Nepal (TURGAN) has proposed a hike of 60-70 per cent in Freelance Tourist Guide Service charges. However tourism entrepreneurs opined that the new remuneration rate will not be reasonable.

“It’s been years, there has been a ‘genuine hike’ in the remuneration of the tourist guide,” said Hare Ram Baral, president of TURGAN. “Last hike of two per cent was made on tour guide remuneration in 2007 after Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed between Nepal Association of Tour and Travel Agents (NATTA) and TURGAN,” he said adding that they have proposed for a 60-70 per cent hike in the remuneration now.

According to the tourism entrepreneur, tour and travel sectors are parts of in the hospitality sector. So hike in the present remuneration currently can effect the tourism sector as a whole. “We have received a circular regarding proposed hike in the remuneration of tour guide from October 1 but as the operators have already forwarded their quotations to the foreign agencies, the new rate cannot be applied soon,” said Hari Sarmah, chief executive officer at NATTA. The new rate could be applied in the next season but not from October. “Different countries offer different special economy packages during their tourism promotion years, but in our case there is no economy packages for the Nepal Tourism Year 2011,” he said. “The tourism service charges could not be hiked at present,” Sarmah added. “TURGAN decision is arbitrary,” he said adding that they conducted an expert research before the hike in the remuneration rate.

However, baral said that the rate has to be hiked about 150 per cent, according to the research. “However we have proposed only 60 to 70 per cent hike,” he added. According to Baral, as there was no response to their proposal that they have forwarded on April 10, TURGAN was forced to send circulars on the new remuneration rates. “We have repeatedly urged for mutual talks but there was no response, Baral said adding that they are ready for talks if NATTA wants to hold talks with them. “There is no hard and fast rule for determination of remuneration. It all depends on mutual understanding,” said Sarmah.

Though, the world tourism report states that there is an increment in tourist arrivals, the tourist mobility has decreased due to climate change, recession, conflicts and political instability, he added.

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