Newly appointed Tourism, Culture and Civil Aviation Minister Yogesh Bhattarai has directed authorities to upgrade Tribhuvan International Airport into a ’boutique airport’. He has also instructed the project be completed in time for Visit Nepal 2020 – a national tourism campaign targeted to attract 2 million visitors to Nepal.
The vision for transforming TIA into a boutique airport was first laid by Rabindra Adhikari, ex-Tourism Minister, in January, 2019. Unfortunately, the minister passed away in a helicopter accident in February – much before he could see his vision become a reality.
TIA is Nepal’s only international airport, and serves as the gateway to the world for hundreds of thousands of visitors pouring into the Himalayan nation. Many a times, the airport does not make a good impression – mismanagement being the biggest harassment faced by travelers.
The minister suggested a myriad of changes – from management to security of passengers. He instructed the authority to smoothen the immigration process – more counters to issue international visitors visa, facility of e-payment. He told the authorities to make the ‘taxi system’ more reliable, and to complete the necessary construction work of the arrivals lounge. He stressed on better trolley management and efficient baggage handling systems. The minister also stressed on a better alert system to provide timely and accurate flight information (change in time, delays, weather conditions etc).
He also asked authorities to beautify the airport towards making an appropriate reflection of Nepal – one that reflects the culture and beauty of Nepal.
As Visit Nepal 2020 arrives, the government is facing tight deadlines to ensure the campaign is a success – the development of TIA is critical towards that for much of the 2 million visitors will be arriving through TIA.
The minister had also visited the under constructed Gautam Buddha Airport last week, and had assured the airport would be completed before Visit Nepal 2020. However, completion of construction does not mean commencement of operations, therefore the ministry needs to be mindful of that too.