NTB to mobilise NRNs energise tourism sector

KATHMANDU: Tourism entrepreneurs today urged Non-Resident Nepalis (NRNs) to promote the campaign Send Home A Friend and make Nepal Tourism Year (NTY) 2011 a grand success.

Speaking at a programme to mobilise NRNs to boost tourism in the country, Nepal Tourism Board chief executive officer Prachanda Man Shrestha said, “Nepal currently is in transitional phase. Therefore, the 55 offices of NRNs can help support NTY 2011 by sending home a friend and boost Nepal’s tourism sector.

Shrestha added that the success of NTY depends on how many tourists NRNs can send to Nepal. He said NTB will help the NRNs for this purpose through recommendations and authorisation by providing a corporate logo too.

According to statistics, around 92,918 tourists visited the Send Home A Friend website but it is still not certain how many tourists visited Nepal through that website aside from 22. Shrestha urged the NRN committee to express its commitment for the support.

According to NRNA president Dev Man Hirachan, 10 million Japanese tourist travel abroad but even then the number of Japanese tourists coming to Nepal is very low. “There must be infrastructure development and suitable environment for Japanese tourists as they are very much nature-loving,” said Hirachan.

There is no reason to send home a friend till they are granted special concerns as tourist arriving in Nepal get cheated right from the arrival point — the airport, said Hirachan adding that from the immigration office, the customs officers to taxi drivers — everyone cheats the tourists arriving in Nepal creating a negative impact as the disillusioned tourists narrate their woes when they return home. “If only the government gave special training to those people at the international airport, negative information will not stop flowing to third countries,” he said. Hirachan also bemoaned the scarcity of airlines from Nepal to Japan. He said Japanese people are interested to come Nepal but lack of airlines and mismanagement is all impelling them to stay away.

According to NTB, there has been a 54 per cent increase in foreign exchange. In the year 2008 it was $350 million. Earlier, it was $230.6 million.