In a development of sorts, the creative and media duties of Nepal Tourism Board has been awarded to Thompson Nepal (in which JWT India has a 76 per cent stake, while the remaining is with Nepal-based investors Mani Joshi and Nabin Lal Joshi). While the agency refrained from giving the size of the business, it is safe to assume it would be of "a modest size" at least to begin with. For the record, some of the big accounts with Thompson Nepal are Levers, Surya Tobacco, a subsidiary of ITC, Glaxo SmithKline and Soaltee group (which has a chain of hotels and is also into automotive business).
According to information available with agencyfaqs!, Thompson Nepal won the business in a multi-agency pitch. It seems the idea was to hire "an agency based in Nepal with presence in India". Given this, "Thompson Nepal turned out to be an ideal candidate for the Board". agencyfaqs! has also learnt that in the past, Rediffusion DY&R, Delhi, has worked on the Nepal Tourism Board account.
The brief clearly is to increase the tourism traffic from India and the overcome the fallout of "dubious political events in the past that had cast its shadow on Nepal's tourism industry". Since India is an important market for Nepal (it accounts for 30 per cent of the tourist traffic), rejuvenating the traffic inflow from India was imperative. (Which also explains the need for an agency with presence in India, but based out of Nepal). "Nepal is a great tourist destination for Indians for several reasons. It is next door, the Indian currency is readily accepted and, above all, an Indian tourist does not need much except for a voter's identification card or a passport for verification," explains Joydeb Chakravarty, managing director, Thompson Nepal.
The agency, in fact, has run a tactical ad, promoting attractive and economical holiday packages for Nepal in India. The ad was run on Aaj Tak and top dailies such as the Hindustan Times. "Since the acquisition coincided with the beginning of the tourist season, we decided to act promptly," says Chakravarty. The campaign, claims the agency, has been a success. "In 2002 May, the air traffic from India was about 8,000, and this year (May 2003) it has gone up to 11,000, with 80 per cent occupancy in hotels," claims Chakravarty.
Thompson Nepal has lined up more activities to tap the India market. The agency has identified south India as an important focus of its future communication. "South India is a lucrative market for tourism. However, not much has been done to promote destinations there. We would now look at south India to promote Nepal," says Chakravarty.
The sudden burst of energy at Thompson Nepal may have been to push growth at the agency, which, last year, recorded a billing of Rs 30 crore in an industry estimated at Rs 200-225 crore. Observers however say growth in that market will be fuelled by the many TV channels and radio stations lined up for launch. Besides that, a handful of Indian agencies that have tied up with local agencies in Nepal are expected to push the ad industry growth in that country. Among Indian agencies, Lowe and O&M have tie ups with local agencies, and Thompson and McCann are the two full-fledged international agencies in Nepal. © 2003 agencyfaqs!