Nepalayatimes/VNY 2020 isn’t the only number it’s a strategy: NTB CEO Deepak Raj Joshi
Nepal Tourism Board (NTB) is promoting Nepal in the domestic and international market and is working toward repositioning the image of the country. It also aims to regulate product development activities. This national organization established in 1998 by an act of Parliament in the form of partnership between the Government of Nepal and the private sector tourism industry. It was set up to develop and market Nepal as an attractive tourist destination. The Board provides a platform for vision-drawn leadership for Nepal’s tourism sector by integrating government commitment with the dynamism of the private sector. Deepak Raj Joshi, the CEO of NTB is a visionary with a dynamic personality. Mr. Joshi is running with the aim to work on strategic management and sustainable development, and he believes strong teamwork raise organization. Nepalayatimes Team interviewed Mr. Joshi. Here is the edited version of the interview.
Some month ago we have lost our Tourism Minister Hon. Rabindra Adhikari in helicopter crashed and the Ministry is running without a leader. In this context, what types of obstacle are you facing in tourism activities?
Really this is painful to us; minister Adhikari was the dynamic, visionary and farsighted, results-oriented leader for the tourism sector. In absence of the minister, we are fatherless because the minister has a major part to make policy and directive role to do daily activities, all most projects started in the period of Adhikari are becoming slow, and some works are pending, so we are facing such obstacles in our works. Let’s hope as soon as it will be solved.
Government going to celebrate 2020 A.D. as Nepal Visit Year with achieving 2 million international tourist’s arrival in Nepal but the status of infrastructure development in a sorry state, did it announce in hurry? What do you say?
We are going to celebrate this campaign by promoting our products internationally. An infrastructure is major things to attract tourists, so we are focusing on infrastructure development with lobbying to concern bodies. Very soon we will get another international airport, Gautam Buddha International Airport is near to come in operation, Tribhuwan International Airport (TIA) is maintaining with full speed, and I have known information that the way to destinations near to Kathmandu valley like Nagarkot, Dhulikhel is constructing. The Announcement of VNY 2020 is not late but our speed is slow due to various policies and lack of coordination among concern bodies.
Are we focusing on numbers only?
The number isn’t major but it also an indicator to the tourism development of the nation and VNY 2020 isn’t only focused on the number it’s a strategy. We have focused on tourism promotion in International Market, majorly we focus on the Middle East, Germany, and Russia. The Middle East is an emerging area to international visiting tourists so we are targeting there. Social media promotion, advertising on international media and participation on various international travel marts tools are using. We focused on Digital Transformation.
You said digital promotion, visitors paid through online with using various applications; is it beneficiary to us?
You caught an important point, we are facing some trouble due to various travel apps like we-chat, booking the car, Airbnb, OYO hotel, and various hotel booking apps. Today is a digital era, people do everything through online and payment also submitted by online so that income has decreased. It is challenging to control and monitoring over this application. I have heard it can control through online monitoring.
Some of the tourism entrepreneurs blamed that International promotion is late and very slow, how do you explain it?
I couldn’t totally agree with this blame because we have done many activities to support Visit Nepal Year 2020, such are attainted on various international traded fairs with our tourism entrepreneurs, in Berlin, Delhi, Bangladesh and so on. You know that we have got budget for VNY 2020 at the tail end because of that we couldn’t work what we have planned. And one thing if we promoted through television and newspaper advertisement, it shows activities on the surface but we are going through social media promotion so that people said no promotion is there. We are becoming a success too, for example, increasing percentage of international tourists’ arrival in comparison than the previous year is 20-25 percent, which international trend is in 7-8 percent ratio.
Tell us about what types of hurdles have you been facing to handle?
I strongly believe that tourism in Nepal has a lot of potentials to earn a better and stronger name in the international market. But we are still unable to capitalize and leverage on it. Wanting to do a lot of things in this field in a diversified manner has kept me going. And I didn’t know these difficulties to work cause of zigzag system, unwanted legal procedure, lack of team mobilization, and no preplanning activities which are disturbing to us.
What has changed after you being this chair owner?
I have said previously, the problems team mobilization and preplanning of work are changing. We are trying to work on the strategic approach. Coming up with image enhancement is one of our priorities. We have identified some new segments and will start working on it. Tourists know Nepal as an adventurous place. But we also want them to remember us as a culturally rich place. We have more than 100 ethnic groups within the distance of 20-25 kilometer. We are also very diverse in wildlife, weather, and food. The point is we have a lot of things to promote and if we work on it strongly, we would attract more tourists which would help boost the economy. Next, we are trying to incorporate digital media promotion. Trade fair and media was prime but now with the speedy social media, the digital scene has become very active. We need to tap these also. We have more than 70 desks in a different country and we can approach them to be our partners. So, you see lots of strategic planning is going on strong and we believe these will have a strong and a very fruitful impact.
What would you like to say, which I have skipped asking?
What I have always believed is that tourism in Nepal has immense scope and opportunity. But it can’t be developed in isolation. This has to be multidimensional. There are other sectors within it namely, medical tourism, herb tourism, and others. Along with the private sectors, these should move forward also. We can our heritage at a local level that is also for us and not just the tourists.
At last, You are a busy man. How do you balance your professional and personal life?
This is a tough one to answer. I think many people would agree to that. But what I do believe is that tactful management is imperative. In fact, I am trying to get my hands around it.