12 JANUARY 2020 I Nepal’s tourism minister has been left appalled by unhygienic condition of restrooms at the only international airport in the country – through which the tourism-dependent nation is hoping to welcome two million tourists within 2020.
The ministerial “discovery” about the missing paper towel as well as prevailing poor toilet sanitation naturally portends a bleak “first impression” of the Himalayan nation as jet-lagged tourists rush to relieve themselves in a real restroom after hours of having to do business on congested, hissing toilets mid-air.
Yogesh Bhattarai carried out an unannounced inspection of the TIA airport on Saturday, a Kathmandu media outlet reported yesterday. The Minister for Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation apparently told TIA bosses to vacate their positions if they could not keep the airport toilets clean and serviced.
The rude awakening of the minister is in line with those who say instead of spending millions of rupees on the promotion of Visit Nepal Year 2020, the government would have been better-off running a clean-up campaign so that tourists who are already in Nepal can enjoy the scenic nation better and thereby become ambassadors for the country as they spread word of mouth once they fly back home.
Mr Bhattarai, who left Australia earlier this week, also reprimanded airport officials for trash strewn around the premises. He directed them to ensure toilets are nice and dry at all times. If they could not achieve that then they should not be in the job, the Nepal Communist Party (Marxist) leader is said to have told the airport employees present during the spot-check.
“People come via Qatar, Singapore, Doha airports and they expect the same (cleanliness) here, that’s natural,” Minister Bhattarai was quoted as saying, “We should not compromise when it comes to cleanliness, we should not leave any room for complaints.”
The airport restrooms inspected by the minister did not have dryers which the staff told him were in the process of being procured through tender – in the middle of Visit Nepal Year 2020.