Private sector up in arms against NTB


JTCC Coordinator Ramesh Dhamala reads out the memorandum in the presence of Tourism Minister Bhim Acharya. (Photo: TAAN)

Joint Tourism Coordination Committee (JTCC), a forum of 19 travel trade associations, on Tuesday handed over a four-point memorandum to the Minister for Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation Bhim Acharya, drawing the attention of the government toward pressing issues of the Nepali tourism industry.

They have also warned that they won’t cooperate with NTB unless their demands were addressed.

Representatives of Trekking Agencies’ Association of Nepal (TAAN), Nepal Association of Tours and Travel Agents (NATTA), Hotel Association of Nepal (HAN), Nepal Mountaineering Association (NMA), Nepal Association of Rafting Agents (NARA), PATA Nepal Chapter, Nepal Association of Tour Operators (NATO), Himalayan Rescue Association (HRA), Expeditions Operators Association Nepal (EOA Nepal), Village Tourism Promotion Forum Nepal (VITOF), Thamel Tourism Development Council (TTDC), Association for Tourism, Pokhara Tourism Development Committee, Association of Kailash Tour Operators, Tourist Bus Association of Nepal, Nepal Tourist Vehicles Association, National Tourism Entrepreneurs Association of Nepal (NEAT Nepal),  Nepal National Tourism Entrepreneurs Organizations and UCPN Maoist Tourism Sector Committee were present on the occasion.

Responding to the delegation, Minister Acharya said he would take necessary action after studying the memorandum.

The associations later unveiled their demands by organizing a press meet in Kathmandu.

As a short-term measure to bring about reforms in Nepal Tourism Board (NTB), the associations have asked the government to appoint private sector representatives in the board of NTB on their recommendations.  For the long-term solution, the associations have asked the government to study report of a taskforce constituted by the tourism minister of the government formed after the people’ movement of 2006 and restructure NTB accordingly.

Saying that past programs and activities of NTB were designed to serve the vested interest of handful of persons and organizations, the associations have called on the government to launch comprehensive study on plans, programs and expenditure made over the past five years by a team comprising of private sector representatives and auditing experts.
The associations have urged the government to stop National Tourism Fair that NTB is organizing in the near future. The memorandum presented to the tourism minister states, “Private sector are not convinced with the preparation for the fair aimed at promoting domestic tourism.”

They also said the tourism fair is becoming ineffective as private sector, who sells tourism products and services in international arena, have not been involved in the event planning and implementation process.

Saying that NTB started organizing National Tourism Fair by neglecting the proposal to organize Himalayan Travel Mart by the private sector, the associations have said such an act of bias would only dampen relation between NRB and the private sector.
“The CEO selection process at NTB is lingering as one of the candidates of CEO is assuming the responsibility of director and acting CEO in NTB,” the memorandum states, “Hence, the candidate should be removed from the responsibility until the CEO selection process is finalized.”

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