According to the Board, budget of other programmes have been curtailed except the significant programme as income of Board is affected due to coronavirus.
With all the touristic activities coming to a halt due to coronavirus pandemic, the budget size of Nepal Tourism Board (NTB) has shrank to million. The Board has allocated the budget of around Rs 820 million for the current fiscal year 2020-21 while in previous year, the annual budget figure was around Rs two billion.
A meeting of the NTB Board of Directors on Monday endorsed the budget focusing on study, research, digital marketing and promotion of domestic tourism. According to Board CEO Dr Dhananjay Regmi this year the size of budget was significantly cut off in lack of sufficient resources due to COVID-19 crisis. “We hardly could come with Rs 820 million budget, but it seems challenging to manage resources for it,’’ he said, adding but again new programmes will be announced upon analyzing the situation in the future.
Last fiscal year, the Board brought the budget of Rs 1.63 billion, focusing on the Nepal Visit Year 2020 which is already suspended owing to the global crisis caused by the virus.
The Board has been facing the lack of source of income with the halt of all touristic activities and the impact is reflected in the budget.
Arrival of foreign tourists is the main economic source of the Board. This year, no budget was allocated for touristic infrastructure development. It gives an emphasis on the promotion of short-route major touristic markets in India and China with the concept of digital market, according to Dr Regmi. "However, despite a smaller in size compared to the previous year, the fresh budget aims to achieve more and is progressive as well," claimed Dr Regmi.
It is expected to be helpful in reviving the post-COVID crisis-tourism industry. The findings of a recent study conducted by the NTB shows that country’s tourism and aviation sectors lost Rs 37 billion during the four-month-long coronavirus lockdown. A large score of workers and employees associated with these sectors became jobless.
NTB Board of Directors member and budget committee coordinator Awadhesh Kumar Das said the budget for the current fiscal year was largely slashed because of the impact of COVID-19 and limited cash stock. The main financial source of the Board is the amount received from tourism service fee (TSF) charged from tourists. These two income sources have been affected as tourists have now stopped arriving Nepal for visit due to coronavirus pandemic.
Das shared that the budget was prepared being economical at a time when there is no resource. Tourism Board has made projection that there would be income of around Rs 240 million with an expectation of arrival of around 200,000 tourists in 2020 after the COVID-19 pandemic is over. Former
Executive Officer of Board, Deepak Raj Joshi mentioned that the budget should be implemented in order to disseminate message that three destinations are safe, incentive programme in tourism service and attraction of Nepal for revive of the tourism after COVID-19.
The Board has made arrangement of budget for the publicity in foreign media like BBC and CNN. Activities will be carried out for the tourism promotion by using technology as it will not be possible to organize promotional programme as earlier due to coronavirus. The budget has incorporated the programmes including creating short-term employment for those involved in tourism sector and lost job due to COVID-19.
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