NTB runs without CEO

Kathmandu, August 22:

Nepal Tourism Board (NTB), which has been without a head for the last six months, will have to wait for another one and half month, as the board today re-advertised, seeking a new chief executive officer.

Annulling its recent process of selecting a new boss, the national tourism organisation of the country today again announced a vacancy notice for the top post, allocating 35 days to competitors vying for the post to submit their details.

The notice was made public two days after NTB got a new board member on Monday. The board then formed a new selection sub-committee which is being led by Rajesh Babu Shrestha as the convener and comprises of Rameshwor Sapkota and Bandi Nima Sherpa as members.

NTB has been running without a CEO since February last after the completion of the tenure of the then chief, Tek Bahadur Dangi.

On March 3, the NTB board published a vacancy notice for a new CEO and 15 applicants applied for the post. Of these, eight were called for interviews and presentations.

Early June, there came a twist during the final stage of selection candidates for the top job, as Prakash Shrestha, the then convener of the selection sub-committee, resigned from the post citing his ‘difference’ over interference. Since then the whole process got stuck and NTB continued without a boss.

Tourism ministry officials, however, said that the re-advertisement for CEO is made as per the NTB Act 2053 BS and Regulations 2055 BS, which asks for a fresh advertisement if the process is not completed within three months of the first vacancy announcement.

“A fresh advertisement has been taken out as per the law and the entire process will be same,” said Bodhraj Niroula, spokesperson at the ministry.

Meanwhile, tourism entrepreneurs have expressed their hope that this time the selection will be fair and free from any interference. They univocally stated that NTB needs a dynamic, energetic and hardworking professional to lead the national tourism organisation in today’s challenging travel-trade business scenario.

“It is sad to note that political interferences is stalling the selection of the right candidate for the top job at NTB despite it being an autonomous body. It not only delays the whole process but also gives a negative impression,” Basanta Mishra, president of Nepal Tour Operators Association (NATO), told this daily.

He said that the NTB board should also keep the option for recruiting an international candidate for the top job if it doesn’t find of a suitable candidate in the domestic market. “Existing laws can be amended. But the bottom line is that we need a dynamic professional for the job,” Mishra added.

He further said that the government seems indifferent about looking into the matter and concerns of the tourism sector. Ahead of the peak tourist season, Nepal lacks proper air connectivity. Inefficiency of Nepal Airlines Corporation has further aggravated the situation, said Mishra, adding that the government remains silent on all these issues.

Dhruba Narayan Shrestha, president of Nepal Association of Travel and Tour Agents (NATTA) said that some promotional activities and legal decisions have been delayed without NTB having a chief.