Nepali Times
Nation
Scare tactics spoil NTY


MICHAEL COX


Despite Nepal Tourism Board (NTB) claiming that foreign travel advice has been toned down in the last year, over-cautious warnings are still deterring tourists from visiting Nepal.

"The number of tourists could be much higher if not for the travel advice from foreign embassies," says Sarad Pradhan, NTB's media consultant. "Unforeseen things happen everywhere, everyday and Nepal is no different." He argues that there is no threat of terrorism in Nepal.

At least seven countries advise tourists not to travel to Nepal because it's too dangerous. "The US is always trying to link Nepali organisations with terrorism, but in my opinion this is not true. Like the Maoist Party, they're a political outfit, they're not a terrorist organisation," Pradhan says.

NTB recently wrote a letter to all western ambassadors in Nepal requesting them to review their travel advice and Nepal's Foreign Ministry was also copied in on the letter. Nepal's ambassador to the US, Shankar Sharma, briefed the US State Department last January in an attempt to sway them to review their advice, which suggests that Nepal is a dangerous country to travel in (see box).

As part of their commitment to NTY 2011, all political parties signed an agreement assuring NTB that they would not disrupt 2011 with any strikes or protests that will affect the safety of tourists. NTB is confident that this agreement will not be broken. "We believe the parties will stick to their word," Pradhan says. Another move by NTB was to put a crisis management and crisis tourism unit in place to further protect travellers in the event of any threat to tourism.

Most of the information that the US embassy uses to determine the security situation is drawn from public sources, including the media and police reports. The US councillor for public affairs, Terry J White, says the US Embassy has an obligation to provide the American people with fact-based information. "This information is gathered, sifted and distilled into what we think would be useful to our constituents," White says.

President of the Tours and Travel Agents Association, Arjun Prasad Sharma, says this kind of travel advice is produced to prevent foreign embassies from being sued. "This is to protect the jobs of the embassy people and the government people," he says. "But the benefits of tourism go to the grassroots level people in Nepal, so the embassies have to support the people and stop this (travel advice). We don't need aid, we need business."

Sharma argues that Nepal is not linked with any terrorist organisations, but adds that Nepal isn't the only country that bears the brunt of foreign travel advice.

A British embassy spokesman says there is a general threat of terrorism in a country with any British and American ties. The UK advises all British citizens that there is a threat of terrorism wherever they choose to travel. He says they're not singling out Nepal. "I think it's fairly balanced (advice), we have a duty to give advice. Travellers expect to know about potential risks," the spokesman says, "and travellers anywhere in the world should have their wits about them."

The Australian Embassy updates its travel advice every three months and its intelligence is based on anything that affects Australians. A spokesman from the Australian Embassy says, "I wouldn't say we're over-cautious, we're trying to be right on the money to reflect the situation."


Travel advice from foreign ministries

United States:
"urges caution" www.travel.state.gov

United Kingdom:
"general threat of terrorism" www.fco.gov.uk

Australia:
"high degree of caution" www.smartraveller.com.au

Canada:
"should remain vigilant at all times"
www.voyage.gc.ca

New Zealand:
"some risk Öthreat from terrorism"
www.safetravel.govt.nz

READ ALSO:
Nepal Guest Year, HANS HOFER



1. Glenn Mitrasing

NTB, Tours and Travel Agents Association and the Nepalese government should be focusing on their PR strategy and less on the formal travel advise of all the different foreign governments. Here in The Netherlands there are a many experienced travellers who advise positive on travelling to Nepal. The impact of these unofficial advises should not be underestimated.



2. Sarah Jackson

Mr Sharma - do you know that the Maoist  are listed as an terroist organisation by the US State Dept.  Why don't you your Maoist leaders to give up the PLA - Mr Sharma, you are what is known as a Whiner in American culture and society, so stop whining and start working - NTB is a joke - why should Western tourist put their lives in danger when their Embassy is advising them not to travel to Nepal.  The Diplomats must a very good reason for this advisory.  Its their job to protect their people.

In the age of Facebook and Twiter,  its not easy to fool people. The NTB, Nepali Tourism Ministry and other tourist organisations need to do a better job attract tourist,  not compalin and whine about it. Some food for your thoughts.     



3. Gole
Some lives are more important than others. American life is more than European life . European life is more than Asian life.
 Warn, warn  and warn. There is threat every-where.
 It is all in the mind.


4. RIPVANWINKLE
on contrary to what we may believe in other parts of the world if one divulges false information one tend to get prosecuted resulting in loss of job and so on. but then again we will not be nepali if we dont pin our inability and incompetence on somebody or something else. and not be responsible for our acts.

5. Connie Sacco
Aubrey Caroline Sacco, mysteriously disappeared along the Langtang trail in April 2010.  Nepal hopes we have forgotten that Aubrey is still missing 10 months later.  The NTB is hoping everyone has forgotten about Aubrey and all the other tourists and trekkers that have disappeared in Nepal (like Julianne Wynne, Celine Henry, Gareth Koch, Kushagra Vasant Singh, Madhya Pradesh to name only a few).  There is a reason for the travel warning ~~ to protect the foreign traveler


6. TOM

I agree with Sarah ...NTB  and Tourism Ministry is a joke! For example ..... if you honestly apply to represent and promote Nepal ...they toss you around till you get sick to death ........most of the times embassy or NTB nominates some of their relatives who might be a chef or someone unrelated to tourism industry in Nepal  like NTB and Tourism Ministry........the only thing NTB does is send their staff on incentive  travel to the west once a year saying it is an PR excercise,provide interviews to media like Sharad Pradhan ji above  and give bhasans........wakey,wakey...

Please read the attachment below it will do the explanation:

  Terms and Conditions for Public Relations Representative of NTY2011   Criteria          

1.                  Public Relations Representative (PRR) of NTY2011 should be a citizen of the country which the PRR is representing. If PRR is a Nepali citizen, he/she should have a Resident Permit.

2.                  PRR shall not receive remuneration of any kind for having represented the NTY2011 ts PRR and for conducting PR activities.

3.                  A recommendation from the Embassy/Consulate concerned is required, if feasible.

4.                  NTY2011 Secretariat shall make an evaluation of its PRRs. Satisfactory outcome of the same will qualify the PRR for renewal whereas poor performance will automatically disqualify for the same.

5.                  The PRR's tenure may be terminated with or without further notice.

 

The NTY2011 PRR  should abide by the following Terms and Conditions   Office

 

1.                  The office of the PRR shall be decorated in authentic Nepali-style.

 

Information Dissemination & Publicity for Nepal

 

2.                  The PRR shall disseminate factual and up-to-date information on Nepal in keeping with the best interest of Nepal and Nepalese Tourism industry.

3.                  The PRR shall gather information on all travel trade events that take place in that country and inform the same to the NTY2011 Secretariat.

4.                  The PRR shall represent NTY2011 whenever required.

5.                  The PRR shall provide relevant information on:

(a)                travel trade writers/media;

(b)               list of clubs of SITs;

(c)                purpose of visit/no of outbound visitors from that country and so on.

6.                  The PRR shall organize events, cultural programs and press meets on behalf of NTY2011 Secretariat

7.                  The PRR shall conduct photo or promotional exhibition on Nepal at least once a year.

8.                  The PRR shall organize slide shows and talk programs regularly.

9.                  The PRR shall distribute promotional materials and also assess the needs of the market.

10.              The PRR shall help organize fam trips of well-known journalists, photographers and tour operators of the respective country to Nepal.

11.              The PRR shall publish features/ articles on Nepal at least three/four times a year.

12.              The PRR shall place advertisements and articles on Nepal and send a few copies of the same to NTY2011 Secretariat

13.              The PRR shall collect news, features, clippings, reviews or any other material on Nepal published by the local media and send a few copies of the same to the NTY2011 Secretariat

                      14.              The PRR shall make various presentations on Nepal to consumers, expat communities, students, universities and other potential clients.

  Trade Fairs & Sales Missions

 

15.              The PRR shall motivate local operators and Nepalese associations in order to promote Nepal.

16.              The PRR shall help NTY2011 Secretariat in the coordination and organization of fairs, sales missions,  road shows, and actively participate in the same and help publish press releases to promote Nepal in the local media.

17.              It shall provide all possible cooperation to the Nepalese private sector tourism in its capacity as an authorized representative.

 

A Link between Destination and Market

 

18.              While discharging duties as NTY2011 PRR, it shall design and operate promotional activities and create awareness in the related tourism market coordinating with the Nepal Tourism Board.

19.              It shall function as a PR link between the market and the destination. It shall clarify misconceptions and baseless rumors with regard to Nepal as a destination,  keeping in touch with NTY2011 Secretariat

  Abstain from Unauthorized Activities

 

20.              It shall limit its function to information dissemination. Its shall abstain from any activity that is likely to bring a bad name to the Ministry of Tourism & Civil Aviation (MoTCA), NTY Secretariat or country at large.

21.              This authorization does not permit PRR to use GoN crest at any cost in any activity anywhere. However, the PRR may use NTY logo in its letterhead.

22.              The PRR will not do anything that may prove to be burdensome to Government of Nepal, MoCTCA or NTY2011.

Progress Report

23.              The PRR shall present a quarterly progress report to the NTY Secretariat on all the activities/programs conducted within the time frame.

24.              It shall keep in close contact with the concerned Nepalese Embassy and follow guidelines and directives issued by them in connection with tourism promotion.

25.              The PRR shall forward advice/suggestions on various opportunities which may facilitate in the programs of NTY Secretariat.

26.              This authorization is subject to renewal every year. In case of unsatisfactory progress report or any unauthorized activity on path part of PRR, the NTY Secretariat can cancel the PR authorization with immediate effect.

                                                                                                                                                

Any Other Assignment

 

27.              The PRR shall carry out any other assignment as entrusted by NTY Secretariat in order to market and promote Nepal

 

 



LATEST ISSUE
638
(11 JAN 2013 - 17 JAN 2013)


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