Nepal Tourism Board has new CEO, finally

- SANGAM PRASAIN, Kathmandu

Dec 18, 2015-

After a four-year hiatus, Nepal Tourism Board (NTB) has finally got a new chief executive officer (CEO).

The NTB board on Thursday appointed Deepak Raj Joshi to the top post for a four-year term.

Three candidates—Joshi, Gyaneshwor Mahato and Gyanendra Tuladhar—had been recommended by the CEO selection sub-committee for the final round from among nine individuals who appeared for the interview this week. Among the three, Joshi outperformed others, securing 69.5 points.

The NTB has been stumbling along without a head since October 31, 2011, when the then CEO Prachanda Man Shrestha’s tenure expired.

The board started the process to search for a new CEO in November 2011, when the NTB board had shortlisted 12 applicants. However, the board suffered several setbacks in its efforts to appoint a new boss. In the last four years, more than a dozen writs had been filed in courts either to halt or postpone the appointment process.

“Finally, NTB now has a new CEO and it’s a major breakthrough,” said Tourism Ministry Secretary Dinesh Kumar Thapaliya. “The country’s tourism promotional body, which had remained defunct for many years in the absence of a chief, will be activated to perform as per its goal.”

“Within 15 days, we will approve the full budget and start an aggressive tourism marketing in major source markets,” said secretary Thapaliya, who also chairs the NTB board.

Joshi, who has been serving NTB since 2000, has his tasks cut out. He is taking NTB’s charge at a time when the country’s tourism sector is facing multiple crises, first the April 25 earthquake and now India’s trade embargo.

Nepal’s tourism industry is battling for survival, with tourism numbers freefalling, less than 20 percent hotel occupancy and international carriers cutting frequencies.

The industry, one of the major pillars of the economy, has been shattered and it’s unclear when the travellers will return. In such a scenario, the new NTB CEO will have a lot of issues to handle.

“The New Year means new opportunities and, of course, new challenges,” said Joshi. “Business confidence in the tourism industry is at record low. To restore the confidence, I have a challenge to bringing the private sector onboard to jointly promote Nepal in a cost-effective manner with innovative programmes.”

Joshi has envisioned four strategies—survival, revival, reinvigoration and building back better—to bring back the industry on the right track.

Due to political manoeuvring and rampant irregularities, the NTB, formed under an exemplary public-private-partnership model, has not been functioning as per its aims. With several corruption scandals in the past, restoring NTB’s reputation would be another daunting task for the new CEO.

Besides, his most important responsibility would be setting an appropriate “tone at the top” to shape a corporate culture with employees and other constituents as in many cases youthful executives are more apt to gain less respect. Hence, an organised and careful process is necessary to reshape the corporate culture.

 

Published: 18-12-2015 10:02

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