Tourism board headless due to NCP’s power play

  • January 23, 2020

The tourism board has put off the meeting to appoint a new CEO ‘until further notice’ without giving any specific reason.

While the sub-committee formed to select final candidates shortlisted Dhananjay Regmi, Dipak Bastakoti and Hikmat Singh Aiyer as the final candidates on January 19, the board meeting had ended inconclusively.

According to media reports, the board meeting has been intentionally postponed as the candidate preferred by ruling Nepal Communist Party (NCP) has not been shortlisted by the sub-committee.

An NTB source informed, on condition of anonymity, that the selection process is being delayed as it has attracted the attention of Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli.

“One of the powerful applicants for the post who did not make it to the final shortlist had reached out to the prime minister and tried to influence him saying that the NTB CEO should be in favor of NCP. And now, PM Oli has directed the sub-committee to revise the shortlisted candidates,” a national daily has cited the source as saying.

Krishna Bahadur Mahara, one of the members of the sub-committee, has been criticizing the government on his Facebook, stating that the Tourism Ministry was trying to bring in a political appointee as the CEO of NTB.

Nepal’s national tourism organization was expected to get the new CEO on Friday itself. But the board meeting hasn’t convened till date.

The country has set a target of welcoming two million tourists in 2020. But officials fear promotional activities could be affected if the NTB falls into controversy.