NTB gears up to lure more tourists

Kathmandu, November 5:

Prachanda Man Shrestha, the newly-appointed CEO of Nepal Tourism Board (NTB), is planning to attract at least half-a-million tourist a year in the next two years. Though the target was set way back in 2000, it has never been achieved.

“We can achieve the target by recreating the Shangri La image of the country formulated during 50s and 60,” Shrestha, who is well-known for his innovative ideas in tourism and trade, said adding that the objective is going to be a ‘challenging task’ since there is no single element to reflect the true image of the country at present.

“But this can be sorted out by repositioning Nepal’s destination image suitably,” he said.

Outlining his vision, which will be translated into the new NTB vision for the next four years, Shrestha pointed out the need to evolve the image of NTB as a representative body of all the travel trade professionals. “For this, a unanimous voice is essential from among the stakeholders,” he said adding that NTB should be able to harness the private entrepreneurs’ efficiency and innovativeness and the government’s authority.

He is also of the view that since the socio-economic activities relating to tourism promotion was limited to only certain areas and people till date, a ‘broad-based’ approach is the need of the hour.

“Importantly,” he said, “ the agenda comprises conducting a reality check by reviewing last eight years of performance and correcting the lapses.”

Shrestha, who was a joint-secretary at the Ministry of Industry, Commerce and Supplies, replaced Subash Niraula, who served as the officiating CEO.

Shrestha further said that the ongoing peace process could be capitalised as a ‘leading marketing element’ for the NTB. However, he added, since tourism sector is most vulnerable to vagaries of politics, crisis mitigation should be an important tourism strategy.

“With a total budget of Rs 200 million,” he said that NTB could take tourism to its ‘desired level’ to make Nepal one of the most desired tourist destinations.