The 37th Annual General Meeting of Trekking Agencies’ Association of Nepal (TAAN) has elected a new executive committee with Chandra Prasad Rijal as the president. Rijal’s panel almost made a clean sweep, winning 15 of the 17 posts. Rijal got 411 votes while his competitor Sagar Pandey received 332 votes. Similarly, the AGM elected Tashi Lhakpa Sherpa as senior vice president, Tej Bahadur Gurung as first vice president, Ram Prasad Sapkota as second vice president, Karna Bahadur Lama as general secretary, Mukti Pandey as secretary, Lila Ballav Dahal as treasurer and Krishna Man Shrestha as joint-treasurer. Treasurer Dahal is from Pandey’s panel. Likewise, Sarita Lama, Nawang Nima Sherpa, Devi Pandey, Rudra Jung Adhikari, Wangchu Sherpa, Basudev Lamsal, Dambar Bahadur Adhikari, Taranath Lamichhane and Pemba Sherpa as members. Pema Sherpa is from Pandey’s panel.
The 23-member TAAN executive committee takes full shape after four executive members are nominated by the new executive committee. Immediate president Ramesh Prasad Dhamala and TAAN Pokhara President Ram Chandra Sharma are also in the executive committee of TAAN. The closed session of TAAN endorsed the Annual Progress Report for 2014/15 and Proposed Policy and Programs for 2015/16 presented by General Secretary Sagar Pandey. Similarly, it endorsed Annual Financial Report of 2014/15 and Estimated Financial Expenditure for 2015/16 presented by Treasurer Gopal Babu Shrestha. Earlier, Former Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba inaugurated the AGM amid a colorful ceremony. Speaking at the program, Deuba hailed the role played by TAAN in the development and promotion of adventure tourism in the country. Saying that the existing problems would be solved soon, former Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba, who was the chief guest at the event, said the private sectors should unite and work together to create an investment-friendly environment where the tourism industry could flourish.
Similarly, Tourism Secretary Dinesh Kumar Thapaliya said the ministry was working on points to include in the amendment bill considering need of the time. "The existing act has, in some cases, hindered professional growth of different tourism-related organizations and the tourism industry as a whole as it is not current. I assure you that the new act will solve the various problems which are stunting the growth of this industry which helps in bringing in foreign currency," Shrestha said. TAAN President Ramesh Dhamala said Nepal should exploring 'hidden tourism products' that are unexploited yet and could attract millions more tourists to Nepal. Sagar Pandey, general secretary of TAAN, also brought attention to the need to update Tourism Act and called for timely amendment to it. He also urged the government to assist in the making of a Tourism Master Plan with assistance of the National Planning Commission.
Meanwhile, TAAN conferred Dr Harka Gurung Tourism Research and Development Award on Samarth-NMDP. The award carries a purse of Rs 50,000 and letter of appreciation. Similarly, TAAN conferred TAAN Responsible Tourism Journalism Award on Kriti Bhuju of Republica daily and Raju Baskota of Annapurna Post daily. The award carries purse of Rs 15,000 each and letter of appreciation. TAAN also handed over TAAN Eco-Tourism Award to Chhomrong village of Annapurna Region and TAAN Destination Management Award to Ghalegaun Community Development Committee. Nepali ultra runner Mira Rai and youngest women Everest summiteers Nima Chhamji Sherpa was also honored on the occasion. Similarly, Journalists Ashok Silwal and Diwakar Pant were honored with special recognition. They received cash prize of Rs 25,000 each and letter of appreciation. TAAN also felicitated its founding President Ambica Shrestha and founder of Sherpa Society Trekking Ang Dali Sherpa with Lifetime Achievement Award. Similarly, it honored Laxmi Bhattarai of TAAN Secretariat, Kathmandu and Rosh Bahadur KC of TAAN Pokhara with Best Employee of the Year Award. The award carries purse of Rs 30,000 each.
On the occasion, TAAN awarded Royal High Mountain Trekking, Himalayan Encounters and Swissa’s World Adventure for standing in first, second and third positions, respectively, in terms of issuance of TIMS cards in204/15.