The Nepal Tourism Board (NTB) has said it will be conducting consumer publicity programmes through popular global media outlets like CNN International and BBC World to attract a larger number of tourists to Nepal.
The promos on BBC and CNN television channels will aim to lure sightseers to visit Nepal during the autumn, which is the peak tourist season in the country with stunningly clear scenery and pleasant weather.
The tourism promotion body said it had proposed allocating funding of around Rs100 million to carry out a publicity campaign through these popular media outlets. “We are currently in the process of negotiating a deal with the television channels,” said Deepak Raj Joshi, CEO of NTB. Meanwhile, the NTB said that its annual budget for the next fiscal year would amount to around Rs900 million. “The budget is expected to be finalized within three-four days.” The NTB had earmarked Rs840 million for this fiscal year.
However, due to multiple problems like the earthquakes and Tarai protests plaguing the country’s tourism industry, it has not been able to spend all of the budget.
Tourist arrivals to Nepal fell to a six-year low of 538,970 in 2015 as the April 25 earthquake and subsequent anti-constitution agitation in the Tarai kept visitors away.
Nepal received 251,148 less tourists last year, representing a sharp drop of 31.78 percent compared to the 2014 figure. The impact of the killer quake was bigger for Nepal’s tourism industry with arrivals plunging 55.59 percent to 97,510 during the four-month period (May-August) following the disaster.
Just as the tourism industry was picking itself up, it received another knockout blow from a fuel shortage resulting from India’s trade embargo against Nepal.
“The earthquakes have been a big setback for the industry. Hence, we have planned to be more focused on digital marketing and consumer publicity through international mass media,” said Joshi. “Investing in these promotional campaigns is aimed at recovering the country’s tourism by 2017 and preparing for the national Visit Nepal Year campaign in 2018.”
The government has announced plans to mark 2018 as Visit Nepal Year. The publicity campaign next fiscal year will be directed at new markets like East Europe and Southeast Asia, the board said.