By Sharachchandra Bhandary
Nepal and the Tibet Autonomous Region of the People’s Republic of China have signed a 16-point memorandum of understanding along with a commitment of collaboration for bilateral tourism.
The agreement was reached at the end of the 9th meeting of the Joint Tourism Coordination Committee between Tibet and Nepal that concluded here on Tuesday.
In the four-day meeting, both sides reviewed the progress achieved on the understandings made in previous meetings, and emphasized for further cooperation in implementing them while resolving the issues, if any, through mutual cooperation. The two sides also underscored the need of further promoting tourism cooperation by seizing opportunities available in both sides.
As part of the understanding, both sides have agreed to expedite the construction of Rasuwagadhi-Kerung border point and to open it up for tourist mobility gradually after the conditions meet required standard. Likewise, it was agreed to develop trans-boundary tourism co-operation between Humla District of Nepal and Pulan County (TAR of China) with the regard to the Mt Kailash Sacred Landscape Programme (KSLP).
On resuming Kathmandu-Lhasa-Kathmandu direct bus services, both sides agreed to resolve issues such as carrier company, stopping and starting stations, safety, selling tickets, etc, so as to promote Nepal-China direct bus service. The Consulate General of Nepal in Lhasa will coordinate with China side in this regard.
After agreeing to initiate dialogue to make uniform rules and regulations regarding age limit, disabilities etc in climbing border mountains, both sides agreed on helicopter rescue and evacuations in emergencies during mountaineering and trekking periods after securing required approval of the related authorities of their respective governments.
The Chinese side agreed to assist in promoting Nepal’s tourism among Chinese people through Chinese Tourism Authority. It also agreed that processing multiple entry visa and permit for mountaineers and support staff and issuing visa for pilgrims from Chinese Embassy in Kathmandu will be reported to the higher authorities in China.
Both sides agreed to explore the possibilities of increasing frequency of scheduled flights in Kathmandu-Lhasa-Kathmandu sector with reasonable fair, and to enhance cooperation among their travel-trade associations through their tourism authorities.
The two sides also agreed to report the unresolved issues to their higher authorities and make further coordination through the diplomatic channels.
The Nepali delegation to the JTCC was led by Director General at the Department of Tourism Sudarshan Prasad Dhakal and the Chinese delegation from Tibet was led by Vice Director General of the Tibet Tourism Development Committee Ga Ma Ze Deng.
The 10th meeting of the Joint Coordination Committee on Tourism will be held in TAR of China in 2017.