A delegation of the Joint Tourism Coordination Council (JTCC) Thursday called on Prime Minister Sushil Koirala at his official residence at Baluwatar and apprised him of the rampant financial irregularities taking place at the Nepal Tourism Board (NTB) and its failure to contribute for the development and promotion of the country’s tourism industry.
Responding to the delegation, Prime Minister Koirala said that since the government’s prime objective was to establish good governance and create a system of accountability in the country, “any form of corruption was unacceptable to it”.
During the meeting, the Prime Minister was also handed a copy of the memorandum the JTCC had presented to Minister for Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation Bhim Prasad Acharya nine days back.
JTCC has urged the government to appoint private sector representatives to the board of NTB at the recommendations of tourism-related associations, to restructure the national tourism organization in line with the taskforce reports.
Stating that the NTB’s past programmes and activities were designed to serve vested interests of a handful of persons and organizations, JTCC has asked the government to form a taskforce with private sector representatives and auditing experts in order to probe into the programmes and expenditures made over the past five years.
Regarding the lingering of the process of selecting a CEO for NTB, JTCC has asked the government to immediately remove the Acting CEO, who is one of the candidates for the post, until the selection process is finalized.
Similarly, the JTCC team also met with Finance Minister Dr. Ram Sharan Mahat at his residence and informed him about its ongoing campaigns against the financial irregularities at NTB.
Meanwhile, the Federation of Nepalese Chambers of Commerce & Industry (FNCCI), Nepal Chamber of Commerce (NCC), Nepal Canyoning Association (NCA) and Restaurant and Bar Association of Nepal (REBAN), NTB’s board members Phurba Gyalzen Sherpa, Pampha Dhamala and Tikaram Sapkota have already expressed their solidarity to the initiatives taken by JTCC to free the national tourism organization from corruption. Another board member of NTB Dhrub Narayan Shrestha has also shown his solidarity to JTCC.
The delegation included representatives of Trekking Agencies’ Association of Nepal, Nepal Association of Tour and Travel Agents, Hotel Association Nepal, Nepal Mountaineering Association, Nepal Association of Rafting Agents, PATA Nepal Chapter, Nepal Association of Tour Operators, Himalayan Rescue Association Nepal, Expedition Operators’ Association, Village Tourism Promotion Forum, Thamel Tourism Development Council, Association for Tourism Service, Association of Tourism Service, Pokhara Tourism Council, Association of Kailash Tour Operators, Nepal Tourist Bus Association, Nepal Tourist Vehicle Association, National Tourism Entrepreneurs’ Association of Nepal and Nepal Rastriya Paryatan Byabasayi Sangathan, UCPN-M Tourism Sector Committee and CPN-UML Tourism Sector Committee.