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Tourism Minister holds his ground to lower airfare for senior citizens

Minister for Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation Yogesh Bhattarai opined that the private airline companies must not hesitate to provide 50 percent discount on the airfare to senior citizens over the age of seventy.

Speaking with mediapersons at Bharatpur Airport, on Thursday, Minister Bhattarai said that it was the responsibility of the state as well as private sector to respect senior citizens of the nation. He added that there had been some comments from airline companies regarding his announcement of the same, which he said he welcomes, but urges the companies to consider their social responsibility.

“The decision will be implemented after carrying out required consultations,” the tourism minister claimed.

Likewise, he stated that the airfare in Nepal would be reviewed to prevent the tourism sector from being negatively impacted. “The tourism sector has been affected due to high airfare for foreigners and therefore it will be reviewed.”

Minister Bhattarai said that Bharatpur Airport has been kept under high priority. Improvements in its functioning such as operation of night flights, extension of the runway, upgradation of terminal building to make it modern and business-friendly would be carried out, adding that works would proceed with the target of making Bharatpur Airport the alternative domestic airport outside Kathmandu.

Stating that the goal of bringing in 2 million tourists in the year 2020 would be achieved, the tourism minister informed that upgradation of the airports in the country would be focused.

Meanwhile, the Airline Operators Association Nepal (AOAN) had said on Wednesday that it was not possible to provide 50 percent discount for passengers above 70 years in airfare. Tourism Minister Yogesh Bhattarai had announced such a provision for senior citizens while publishing his one-year work plan on Monday.

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