Nepal | September 20, 2020

Nepal Tourism Board slashes budget for current fiscal

ARPANA ALE MAGAR
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KATHMANDU, AUGUST 11

The recently released budget details of Nepal Tourism Board (NTB) reveals the size has been reduced significantly for the current fiscal year compared to the last fiscal. NTB has released a budget amounting to Rs 807 million for the current fiscal against Rs 1.63 billion allocated for the previous fiscal year.

“We have prepared a budget for the current fiscal year by slashing several expenses due to the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Dhananjay Regmi, CEO of NTB, “Except very essential matters, we have not allocated budget for any other purpose.

Moreover, the major priority of our budget is for the recovery of the tourism sector and to provide relief to the tourism workers hit by the pandemic.”

As per him, NTB has released Rs 30 million from the revenue collected from Trekkers’ Information Management System (TIMS) card. “Since the last few years, the amount collected through the TIMS card had been frozen due to several reasons. However, this year we have released some amount from TIMS card collection to provide relief and work for the tourism sector workers,” he added.

Meanwhile, NTB has also coordinated with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) for job retention programmes. “This is the first ever collaboration programme of NTB with UNDP. Through this collaboration, NTB has received Rs 14 million for the job retention programme,” Regmi said, “Possible working areas will be identified and workers will be deployed in the respective working areas under this programme.”

Despite the pandemic, NTB expects to receive around 200,000 tourists this year. “While we have expected to collect revenue worth Rs 206 million from tourists, much depends on how the COVID pans out,” he added.

Regmi further claimed that the budget allocated for this fiscal is enough for eight months for NTB if they are unable to collect funds from other areas.

“This year we have released a very limited budget, with cuts in areas wherever possible,” he said adding the major focus of the current budget is recovery and sustainability of tourism, research and database, job security for workers, domestic tourism promotion and digital marketing.

“Contrary to the previous years, we have not allocated any budget in the name of infrastructure development this year,” he said, “Rather we will research tourist destinations and their status.

Then only we will allocate budget as per the need.”

This will also help to collect the database of tourist destinations, Regmi added.

NTB has also slashed budget for promotional visits in or outside the country.

“Aiming to promote digital marketing, we have cut off the budget of promotional visits and allocated funds for digital marketing which will help us in both budget management and digitising our activities,” he said.

Outside the country, this year NTB will be promoting Nepal as ‘One-stop destination’ for India, China among other nearby countries.

However, this will be considered only after the pandemic situation settles.

A version of this article appears in e-paper on August 12, 2020, of The Himalayan Times.

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