All Poltical Parties including Maoist clear for Tourism Year

Nepal Tourism Year 2011 (NTY-2011) received a big boost on Thursday, with UCPN (Maoist) signing the all-party commitment paper to assist tourism. Chairman of the party Pushpa Kamal Dahal on Thursday signed a commitment letter to this effect.

As of now, 16 political parties— including the Nepali Congress, CPN-UML—have signed the paper. The parties will make a public pledge for the Tourism Year on Friday at the “soft launch” of NTY-2011.

The implementation committee of NTY-2011 has been seeking pledge from the parties not to hold strikes next year. The committee has forwarded the commitment draft to the 25 parties represented in the Constituent Assembly.

The Maoist support however comes with a caveat. The party made changes to the draft before signing it.

The original draft read: “We will not organise any strikes, bandas or other types of activities that will directly or indirectly affect NTY-2011.” After the Maoist revision the sentence now reads: “In essence, we will not affect tourism and tourism related activities during the campaign.”

“During the first meeting with Chairman Dahal, we were asked to remove the words bandas and strikes,” said an NTY implementation committee member. “During the second meeting, we were asked to add ‘under special circumstances’ after ‘bandas and strikes’.” The tourism entrepreneurs were reluctant to remove these words. Hence, a mutually agreed decision to revise the pledge.

“The commitment from the Maoists is a big achievement,” said Prachanda Man Shrestha, CEO of Nepal Tourism Board. “We can now assure the visitors that our country is free from strikes.”

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