PRACHANDA MAN SHRESTHA, Chief Executive Officer of Nepal Tourism Board, is known for his best managerial skills. Shrestha, who used to head the Mountain Division of Tourism Ministry in 1980s, is now heading the board which is organizing Nepal Tourism Year 2011 with an ambitious plan to bring a million tourists in Nepal. Recently Shrestha spoke about Nepal Tourism Year. Excerpts:
What is the state’s preparation for Nepal Tourism Year 2011?
As our demand, the government allocated 230 million rupees budget for us. As we are getting the entire budget as per our demand, we have already divided our programs in four stages. They include international promotion, opening of tourism year, capacity building and identifying new destinations.
How will you spend the budget?
We have allocated 120 million rupees for international tourism promotion, 20 million rupees for opening and Rs.30 million to enhance the capacity of home stay. Remaining money will be spent on management and buying a new package.
When will the event be formally inaugurated?
It will be inaugurated on 14 January in Kathmandu. Some of the tourism ministers from Asian countries are also invited to take part in the two-hour long inaugural ceremony. This will promote Nepal’s tourism in international area. We will also orgnaise regional level programs. Our target is also to increase the number of tourists up to 300,000 from inland. We will make necessary arrangements to give facilities in the border points.
Don’t you think it is too late to kick off the promotional activities?
Of course, the international promotion has been delayed a bit. One must not forget that Nepal Tourism Year is aims to bring a million tourists in Nepal over the year 2011. Even if we cannot bring a million this year, the target will be met within two years. We want to electrify international tourism market through this program.
What program do you have for international promotion?
We have been doing our regular international promotion program. We will use the new budget to reach consumers of various tourist destinations. We will advertise our products in international media, particularly in those countries where Nepal is already popular, like India, China and some European countries.