Kathmandu, November 29:

Travel and tours entrepreneurs have strongly criticised Nepal Tourism Board (NTB) saying that it has failed to work as per the expectations of tourism sector. Basanta Raj Mishra, president of Nepal Association of Tour Operators (NATO) expressed displeasure with the way the NTB is working at present. “NTB was established in a bid to boost tourism through effective marketing strategies but it has deviated itself from its goal,” he said yesterday.

Mishra suggested to develop NATO as a professional institution with a clear vision that

can carry out genuine marketing efforts to promote Nepali tour-ism. “NTB should be totally autonomous and proactive,” he said adding that it should develop corporate culture and needs to shift its marketing strategy from event-based to consumer-based.

Meanwhile, Mishra also criticised the private sector for its immature role. “In such crisis also, the private sector is divided,” he complained.

Entrepreneurs urged to strengthen the national carrier to boost tourism industry. Apart from that NATO has asked the government to declare tourism as a national industry, include it under Essential Services Act, waive VAT threshold, make suitable amendment in aviation policy, start campaigning to regain its lost confidence and strengthen NTB.

Yankila Sherpa, assistant mi-nister for culture, tourism and civil aviation, speaking on the occasion, accepted the inefficiency in tourism promotion. She welcomed NATO’s suggestions and said that NTB should be made more responsible for better tourism promotion.

Govinda Prasad Pandey, newly appointed secretary at the ministry of culture, tourism and civil aviation said that since tourism is the backbone of our economy, it should be promoted. He suggested the entrepreneurs to focus on eco-tourism to boost the livelihoods of low-strata of people.