Kathmandu, July 12:

Nepal Tourism Board (NTB) has urged the government to appoint tourism attaches in Nepali diplomatic missions abroad for promoting tourism through economic diplomacy.

NTB formally proposed the provision of tourism attaché through the Tourism and Civil Aviation Sub-Committee of the Revenue Recommendation Committee (RRC) constituted by the Ministry of Finance to recommend policies and programmes for the coming budget. The sub-committee has forwarded NTB’s proposal to RRC.

The sub-committee has recommended to appoint tourism attachés to Nepali envoys in the US, the UK, Germany, Japan and Australia. These countries are the major tourist generating markets.

Elaborating on the provision, Nandini Lahe Thapa, NTB tourism marketing and promotion director said the attaché should know Nepal’s tourism products and services and be able to develop professional relations with local tour operators and media. “We have limited budget and can’t always travel abroad. We will give orientation to staff of our diplomatic missions and they can function as tourism attachés. We aren’t demanding that the government create new posts,” Thapa said adding that the attachés would represent NTB in their respective workstations and that they would be assigned with certain responsibilities.

“We are hopeful that our proposal will be incorporated in the coming budget. I think this will be a cost effective means of promoting tourism through economic diplomacy,” she said.

The private sector has long been demanding that the government activate its diplomatic missions for tourism promotion. NTB, together with the private sector, gave orientation to the latest batch of Nepali ambassadors before they headed for their respective embassies.

Hailing NTB’s proposal, Basant Raj Mishra, president of Nepal Association of Tour Operators (NATO) said the provision of tourism attaché in Nepali diplomatic missions would be effective for tourism promotion. “We have long been demanding that the government activate our diplomatic missions abroad for tourism promotion. I am hopeful that the provision of tourism attaché will help the tourism industry,” he added. Mishra suggested that NTB thoroughly train the attachés and assign them their responsibilities.

“They should be informed about tourism products and services, know our strengths and weaknesses, and develop good liaison between tour operators and the mass media. They should also act immediately if misleading information about Nepal is carried by the local media,” he said.