Five-star Everest Hotel reopens its door a crackThe luxury property is yet to clear its dues, renew the permit and do an impact study.
All these requirements will be fulfilled in good time, an anonymous hotel official told the Post. “We have informed the Department of Tourism that the process to prepare an environmental impact assessment report has started.”
Danduraj Ghimire, director general of the department, said that the hotel had submitted some documents and the department was in the process of reviewing them.
“The hotel has informed us that it has started the process to prepare an environmental impact assessment report. It has also said that currently 35 rooms have been renovated.”
An environmental impact assessment is mandatory for all new and old hotels with more than 100 beds, a procedure performed in order to define the environmental impacts of the project.
The hotel has to comply with several operational requirements, including the engineering and design that needs to be approved by Kathmandu Metropolitan City as well, before starting operation, said Ghimire. “There is the issue of outstanding dues too,” said Ghimire.
“Until it fulfills the requirements set by the government, its operating licence will not be renewed.” Ghimire said that, depending on the case, the government should also be practical and show leniency.
“As the hotel has committed to fulfill all the requirements, we cannot abruptly prevent them from operating. It has invested millions of rupees to renovate the property. We can give them some time,” said Ghimire. “The hotel has to come with valid documents to show it is ready for commercial operation to get the operating licence renewed.”
On May 26, 2015, the 160-room property was given a ‘red sticker’ by a government team, declaring the building unfit to live in following the powerful aftershock onMay 12 that severely damaged three main pillars in the hotel’s lobby.
A red sticker means that the structure has been damaged to the extent that it is dangerous to inhabit. The government team had said that the hotel could be strengthened through retrofitting, and urged the owner to act accordingly.
At that time, a number of structural experts had said that the hotel could be operated after repairs. But considering that a five-star hotel should have adequate safety measures, the team decided to red-tag the property. The hotel said it had completed the retrofitting.
According to the Tourism Department, the hotel that owns the licence of Casino Everest owes Rs103.5 million in outstanding dues to the government.
Nepal’s hotel industry is once again on a building spree. At least a dozen five-star hotels are under construction across the country, fueled by optimism that the Visit Nepal 2020 campaign will draw 2 million tourists and that growth will continue in the years ahead.
According to industry insiders, more than Rs45 billion has been injected into the hospitality industry. This year, the Tourism Department awarded a five-star rating to four hotels—Soaltee Westend Premier and Hotel Central Plaza in Nepalgunj, and Aloft and Marriott Hotel in Kathmandu—bringing the total number of hotels in the five-star category to 15.