India, China present big tourism opportunity: Joshi

- Post Report, Kathmandu

Dec 24, 2015-

Newly-appointed CEO of Nepal Tourism Board (NTB) Deepak Raj Joshi has said China and India present a big opportunity for Nepali ’s tourism industry.

Speaking at his sworn-in ceremony here on Wednesday, Joshi said the number of outbound tourists from the two giant economies was growing tremendously. “If we (the private sector and the NTB) act together, we can grab this opportunity.”

“The state of Nepal’s tourism is disappointing right now, and the confidence of tourism entrepreneurs and investors has dropped. Reviving the industry and the investor confidence will be the biggest challenge,” he said. “However, with challenges come opportunities.”

Joshi has devised four strategies—2016 as year of survival, 2017 year of revival, 2018 year of reinvigoration and 2018 as building back better.Basant Raj Mishra, a tourism entrepreneur and founding board member of NTB, said the new leadership should work to restore the image of NTB, once regarded as an exemplary public-private-partnership model in Asia. “As the NTB has received a new chief after four years, the private sector has a lot of expectations from the tourism promotion body,” he said, adding the current situation has made things more challenging and the new leadership should be capable of delivering results. Tourism entrepreneur Ghanendra Sapkota, an NTB board member representing the private sector, said the year 2015 passed with disappointing results. “As a result of the April and may earthquakes and trade embargo, we lost the peak season completely. Now, we need to focus on 2016 spring, and for this there is a need for an aggressive marketing in source markets.”

Tourist arrivals plunged 46 percent in the first 10 months as a series of disasters pounded Nepal’s tourism sector, according to the government report. Nepal lost 352,330 tourists in the review period, hitting foreign exchange earnings and jobs in the industry. The country received 300,325 foreign visitors until October, down from 652,655 in the same period last year.

The worst effect has been seen on employment, which has dropped 25 percent, according to the Tourism Ministry. The average occupancy of hotels plunged below 20 percent in October and November following the Tarai unrest and fuel crisis. A number of hotels have closed down, while the others have laid off their workers.

Published: 24-12-2015 09:29

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