Suggestion to Tourism Board to bring budget in coordination with provincial and local governments

KATHMANDU : Experts in the field of tourism have suggested the Nepal Tourism Board bring a budget in coordination with the federal, provincial and local levels to revive tourism affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

They said that the size of the budget of the Board would be reduced if tourism activities come to a standstill during this period and suggested the Board have limited but effective work from the budget.

In a virtual interaction organized by the Board on Thursday regarding the budget for the fiscal year 2078/79, the experts have demanded to formulate the program in such a way that maximizes the use of limited resources. They stressed the need to ensure COVID vaccination and keep tourism afloat by paying close attention to health security. Former Governor Mr Dipendra Purush Dhakal pointed out that the federal government should provide grants to the board to promote tourism.

Expert Dr Bishnu Prasad Gautam opined that budget formulation and tourism promotion programs should be brought in coordination with the three levels of the government. Another expert, Dr Prem Sharma suggested formulating a budget to promote domestic tourism as there is less possibility of the arrival of international tourists at this time. Similar experts, Professor Dr Som Prasad Khatiwada, Ram Chandra Sedai, Chetnath Kandel and Surya Kiran Shrestha suggested that the Board should prepare a recovery and revival plan for at least two to three years by including the stakeholders.

Experts Dr Alok Rai, Ramesh Upadhyay, Pashupati Neupane and Gyanendra Ratna Tuladhar said that there is an opportunity along with the challenges during the COVID pandemic and emphasis should be laid on digital marketing while developing manpower and tourism products. Similarly, tourism businessmen Vijay Amatya, Vikram Pandey Kazi and C.N. Pandey urged that in a situation where there are fewer resources, the board should work on a budget by focusing on new tourism products and marketing rather than infrastructure.

During the interaction, Chandra Prasad Rijal, vice-chairman of the Board and coordinator of the resource management and program and budget management committee, said that despite the business in tourism being affected by COVID they are preparing to do maximum work with limited resources even though the Board is in the process of formulating the budget. He said that the Board would take forward the work of policy reform by incorporating the suggestions of experts. He said that the Board has a plan to work in a visible way in all the 7 provinces despite the small budget and the suggestions of experts will help in formulating the budget.

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