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Pokhara-based tourism entrepreneurs complain of high interest for bank loans

Pokhara: Tourism entrepreneurs in Pokhara have complained that a high-interest rate on bank and finance loans has made it challenging to sustain the business.

Speaking at a programme here today, they said the double-digit interest rate has pushed the business towards the verge of collapse. Pokhara Tourism Council Chair Pom Narayan Shrestha demanded the facility of soft loan for them to revive the business hard hit by the 2015 earthquake and COVID-19 pandemic. The festival reception was organised by the Women Tourism Entrepreneurs Forum (WOTEF) on the occasion of the Vijayadashami and Deepawali festivals. As Shrestha complained, lately financial institutions have increased the interest rate for loans and it poses a grave threat to continuing the business. The rise in interest rate is capable of causing an additional financial crisis in the business and displacing them from the business, he said and demanded government intervention to protect the tourism industry.

He took time to urge the government to create an investment-friendly atmosphere for the sustainability of the business and come up with a policy that ensures a subsidized loan to entrepreneurs. “Tourism being the major basis for economic prosperity, the government is expected to adopt a tourism-friendly policy,” he asserted, adding that there has already been a delay on the part of the government to come up with a protective approach for the tourism business. President of Pokhara Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PCCI), Pawan Prajapati, expressed the view that women’s participation in business has increased in recent period which would play a significant role in economic transformation.

The PCCI would move ahead collaborating with tourism entrepreneur women for economic empowerment of women, he shared. Similarly, Founder Chairperson of WOTEF, Jamuna Parajuli, pointed out the need for common thought and concept of all to resolve the problems seen in the tourism sector. Although women’s presence and participation have increased in the tourism sector, they have not yet reached to decision-making level, Parajuli mentioned. Chairperson of the organisation, Parbati Pandey, expressed the view that a forum should be provided to tourism entrepreneur women by evaluating their contribution. She presented the reality that they have still been deprived of many opportunities due to looking from a male perspective, saying it is a women’s organisation.

Likewise, Chairperson of Hotel Association Pokhara, Laxman Subedi, Chairperson of Nepal Association of Tour and Travel Agents, Gandaki, Hariram Adhikari, Advisor Durga Dhakal, Vice-President of Federation of Nepali Journalists, Kaski, Jamuna Barsha Sharma, among others also expressed their views. Members of the organisation, as well as the chairperson and representatives of tourism-related organisations, were present on the occasion.

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