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    World cyclist to promote responsible tourism in Nepal

    Nepal's renowned cyclist Pushkar Shah has joined hands with the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) to promote environmentally responsible tourism in the Himalayas. 
     
    Shah, who has travelled across 150 countries all over the world, will undertake his latest journey across the country's Great Himalaya Trail as part of WWF's Green Hiker Campaign. "I will in the best possible way help spread the message of the Green Hiker Campaign and responsible tourism wherever I go," Shah said. 
     
    Presenting a bicycle to Shah in capital Kathmandu today, Nepalese Tourism Minister Ram Kumar Shrestha said the campaign had government's full support. "The government will support the initiative taken by Shah in promoting mountain tourism and protecting environment," Shrestha said. 
     
    Talking about the campaign, Ghana S. Gurung, Conservation Program Director of WWF Nepal said: "Himalayas, which is Nepal's biggest tourist attraction, is also one of the hardest hit in terms of climate change." 
     
    "The Green Hiker campaign and this partnership with Pushkar Shah seek to create greater environmental awareness so that people can enjoy nature while ensuring that its pristineness is protected," he added. 
     
    The journey which began a month ago will continue for two more week and end in Taplejung district in eastern Nepal. Shah has been travelling across the world for the past fifteen years to spread the message of world peace.
     
    Source: www.business-standard.com, 15th May 2013

    Saudi Women Summits Everest

    Saudi woman Raha Moharrak reached the summit of Nepal's Mount Everest, the world's highest peak, in a first for the conservative Muslim kingdom where women's sports are severely restricted, tourism officials said Sunday.
     
    The 25-year-old reached the 8,848-metre (29,029-foot) summit early Saturday morning with a party of foreign mountaineers and Nepalese guides.
     
    "She reached the peak with 12 other members of the expedition," Gyanendra Shrestha, an official with Nepal's tourism ministry, told AFP from Everest Base Camp.
     
    "We have been able to contact her and she is very exhausted and now resting," Hassan Moharrak, the climber's father, told AFP, adding that the family was very happy with her achievement.
     
    Moharrak's feat is backdropped by her country's gradual warming to the idea of women participating in sports.
    In a historic first for the country, two female athletes participated in the 2012 London Olympic games.
    Early this month, the government allowed some girls in private schools to participate in athletics but requested the schools ensure girls wear "a covering and decent outfit" for sport activities in "suitable areas".
     
    According to international watchdog Human Rights Watch, Saudi Arabia is the only country in the world that still effectively bars girls from taking part in sports in government schools.
     
    "It's terrific a Saudi woman has been able to reach the summit of Everest," Minky Worden, director of global initiatives at Human Rights Watch, told AFP.
     
    "But it's worth remembering that meanwhile millions of women and girls in Saudi Arabia are still denied the right to climb in a gym or play any sports, including in state schools -- as a matter of government policy."
     
    Moharrak's Everest expedition, dubbed "Arabs with Altitude", undertook the quest to raise money for education charities in Nepal.
     
    Hundreds of climbers will attempt to reach the summit of the world's highest peak in the coming days as a fair weather window has opened.
     
    This year, which marks the 60th anniversary of Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay's maiden Everest summit, has been marred by a brawl that broke out between European climbers and Nepalese Sherpas high on the mountain in April.
     
    Source: www.france24.com, 19th May 2013

    Nepali Travel Agents Visiting China

    In a bid to attract Chinese tourists to Nepal, Nepal Association of Tour and Travel Agents (NATTA) in association with Nepal Tourism Board (NTB) is organizing “NATTA China Sales Mission 2013” from May 15 to 24.
     
    A group of 35 tourism entrepreneurs from 25 different companies will participate in the event that will take place in Chengdu, Shanghai, Beijing and Xi´an. 
     
    At a press meet organized in Kathmandu on Monday, officials of NATTA said a representative from Nepal Tourism Board (NTB) will make presentation about different attractions of Nepal to around 50 to 60 wholesale tour operators in the four cities in China. Likewise, members of the delegation will also provide information about tourism attractions of Nepal to local media persons.
     
    Sambhu Pathak, second vice president of NATTA, said the mission will focus on activities like short trekking, hiking, ultra light flight, mountain flight, paragliding, hiking and trekking in the Everest and Annapurna regions, rafting, jungle safari and others. 
     
    The Nepali tour operators will also be providing information on regular and tailor made packages. “As Chinese are among high spending tourists in Nepal, the participating companies have designed high-end packages that include chartered flights to Pokhara and even mountainous regions,” said Pavitra Kumar Karki, president of NATTA.
     
    According to tourism entrepreneurs, Chinese tourists spend an average of $80-100 per day in Nepal. Average tourist spending at present is around $40-60 per day.
     
    The Nepali travel delegation will begin their journey with a visit to Chengdu where they are scheduled to meet local tour operators and media persons. They will then travel to Shanghai and Beijing. 
     
    President Karki and Nepali Ambassador to China Mahesh Kumar Maskey are scheduled to address tour operators in Beijing. The delegation will then travel to Xi´an before returning to Nepal.
     
    NATTA, Nepali Embassy in China and the NTB´s representative agency in China have been organizing China Sales Mission since 2003. 
     
    Chinese tourists started visiting Nepal after the government of the People´s Republic of China included Nepal in the list of Approved Destination Status countries for outbound Chinese tourists in November, 2001. 
     
    The number of Chinese tourists has increased from 8,738 in 2001 to 107,500 in 2012, data provided by NATTA shows.
     
    Source: www.myrepublica.com, 13th May 2013
     

    Israel and Nepal Set up Monument at Mount Everest to Promote Tourism

    According to a report by Press Trust of India, a Dead Sea rock monument was established at the beginning point of Mount Everest on Thursday. This monument has been set up in order to promote the tourism.

    This monument has two Dead Sea rocks that signify the lowest point of the Earth. The monument has been designed and crafted by Jojo Ohayon, an Israeli artist.

    On 16th May, rocks from Mount Everest will also be set up near the recently established monument. Both then will indicate the link between the highest and lowest points of the Earth.

    "We are very happy to announce that the monument of Dead Sea has been placed on top of the world," said Hanan Goder, Israeli Ambassador to Nepal. He added that there is a need to save the environment at these two crucial sites, as that could control the threats posed by climate change.

    This incident of monuments exchanging between the two nations is definitely a remarkable move in order to promote the tourism and culture. Before this, both the nations had issued postal stamps comprising of Mount Everest and Dead Sea to observe the successful 50 years of diplomatic relations between the two nations.

    The set up of monument holds great significance due to the fact that the government is celebrating 60th anniversary of man climbing the world's top mountain.

    Source: frenchtribune, 16thApril, 2013

    Nepal to honor Saudi prince for Everest feat

    The Nepali Embassy in Saudi Arabia is preparing to felicitate a Saudi prince who scaled Mount Everest last year. Prince Bandar bin Khalid bin Fahd successfully climbed the world's highest mountain on May 19, 2012 and reportedly became the first Saudi Arabian to climb seven summits and the highest peaks in all seven continents.
     
    Nepal's ambassador to Saudi Arabia Udaya Raj Pandey said the embassy is scheduled to honor the prince in mid-June amid a formal program that would be attended by several guests and the local media. The embassy will hand him over a silver replica of Mount Everest and a letter of appreciation.
     
    "We are taking this as an opportunity to promote tourism by encouraging Saudi nationals to visit Nepal. We are preparing to show a documentary on Nepal and its wonderful heritage which might attract many Saudi nationals to choose it as a travel destination," said Pandey.
    Pandey said Nepal could benefit a lot by attracting Saudi tourists. Besides major European tourist destinations, an increasing number of people are visiting countries like Sri Lanka, Philippines, Thailand and Malaysia.
    "Saudi citizens spend a lot in travelling, even higher than most Europeans and Americans. We can benefit a lot by encouraging them to visit our country," said Pandey.
    He added that he has taken the event as a way of introducing Nepal's natural treasures, mountains and the hospitability industry to Saudi citizens.  
     
    According to Arab News, a Saudi daily, Prince Bandar is also the youngest Arab to climb seven summits at the age of 28, and the fastest to climb them, in only three years and 301 days.
     
    Source: E-kantipur, 26thApril 2013

     

    Nepal tourism Board holds road show to woo visitors

    Nepal Tourism Board

    The Nepal tourism board, which began its three-city road show from 23 April and which concluded in Ranchi, India, on Saturday, received encouraging response in the state. The road show was part of the campaign aimed at increasing awareness on the neighboring country's tourism and educating Indian travelers on Nepal's tourism products and offerings. Nepal tourism has imitated the move after successful promotional campaigns in the previous years. Nepal has always been popular among Indians as a tourist destination. Nepal is a prominent destination amongst Hindus across the world. Earlier known as the only Hindu Kingdom of the world, Nepal is thronged with thousands of Shiva-devotees especially during Mahashivaratri to pay homage to Pashupatinath.

    Renowned Everest Summiteers will gather on the occasion. It will also open up new peaks for summit. The organizers would also felicitate all 8000 meter peaks summiteers, a press release said on Sunday.

    Source: Times of India, 29th April 2013

     

    Nepal needs to put more effort to attract Chinese tourists: Ambassador Wu

    Chinese Ambassador to Nepal Wu Chuntai has suggested the Nepali authorities and tourism entrepreneurs to tap the immense tourism potentiality Nepal has, projecting an influx of Chinese tourists here.

    Speaking at an interaction organised by PATA Nepal Chapter in the capital, Wu said so many Chinese travel all over the world Nepal could also attract more tourists by putting some extra efforts in tourism promotion. He mentioned that Chinese tourists are attracted by the friendly behaviour of Nepalis, pleasant weather and birthplace of Gautam Buddha.}

    Nepal earned around US$ 800 million from the Chinese tourist last year, Wu said.
    On the occasion, Nepal Association of Tour Operators (NATO) president Ashok Pokharel said that Chinese tourists will increase gradually with the construction of Pokhara International Airport.
    Acting CEO of Nepal Tourism Board (NTB) Subash Niraula acquainted that the board has been continuously organising promotional programmes to attract tourists including the Chinese. He also urged the government and the private sector for the cooperation and support.

    Source: www.nepalnews.com, 12th April, 2013

    Nepali journalist sets new world record for longest TV talk show by staying on air for more than 60 hrs

    A Nepali journalist has set a new world record for “The longest marathon television talk show”, by hosting a show that lasted for more than 60 hours.

    The feat was achieved by Nepali television journalist and presenter Rabi Lamichhane who hosted the “Lord Buddha was born in Nepal” progra on News 24, a 24 hrs news channel. Lamichhane set the world record for the longest television talk show by staying on air for 62 hours and 12 minutes.

    He was presented with a certificate by a Guinness World Records official after taking the world record for hosting longest television talk show in Kathmandu on Sunday.

    The 60 hour long show which featured Nepal’s leading personalities including writers, journalists, celebrities and artists had begun last Thursday and ended on Saturday.

    The previous longest marathon television talk show lasted for 52 hours and was achieved by Channel 5 (Ukraine) and hosted by Pavlo Kuzheyev and Tetiana Danylenko (both Ukraine) at the Channel 5 Studio in Kyiv, Ukraine, from 23 to 25 August 2011.

    Source: www.nepalnews.com, 15th April 2013

    Maintenance works at Jomsom airport begins

    Process for the blacktopping of Jomsom Airport has been started. The government has decided to carryout maintenance works along with the extension before blacktopping the runway.

    The Ministry of Tourism and Civil Aviation has already started extending the airport grounds by 50 meters to the North and 25 meters to the South from the threshold and widen the runway by 20 meters.

    The 739 meter-runway will be extended to 814 meters, once the construction is completed. It has been reported that there had been difficulties in landing and taking-off during flights due to damaged runway.

    According to Chief at the Civil Aviation Office, Jomsom, Shiva Prasad Sharma said that the runway will be blacktopped by completing the gravelling soon.
    The maintenance of the Airport will be completed at a cost of Rs. 2.77 million, stated the Civil Aviation Office, Jomsom.

    Source: www.myrepublica.com, 14th April 2013

    China National Tourist Office to promote tourism in Nepal

    In a bid to give a new momentum to China Nepal relation through tourism, the Kathmandu-based China National Tourist Office is mapping out plans to promote its county's newly revamped tourism logo in Nepali market, sources said Wednesday.

    The new tourism tagline for China was launched recently with an aim to attract more tourists and offer a lifetime experience of astonishing Chinese natural beauty and culture. The logo themed, "Beautiful China," fully expresses the elements of Chinese culture, and stands for the new image and new vision of China Tourism, according to a recent release by China Tourism.

    If the data by China National Tourist Office is anything to go by, a remarkable 28.2 percent yearly surge in direct tourist departure from Nepal to China was witnessed in the year 2012. Similarly, 107,500 direct visits from China to Nepal were marked in the same year, indicating an increase by 3.54 percent over that of 2011.

    Moreover, China maintained a sound development in the year 2012 as the number of inbound tourists arrivals reached 57.7 million, which brought in around 50 billion US dollars--a 3.2 percent rise year on year, according to the China National Tourism Administration.

    Source: http://www.eturbonews.com and Xinhua, Mar 18, 2013

    Nepal seeks to attract more tourists from Asian nations

    Nepal's most iconic symbol - Mount Everest, the world's highest peak - and other tall mountains attract tens of thousands of foreign tourists, particularly from Western Europe, the United States and Japan.

    Home to eight of the highest mountains in the world, the Himalayan nation has been a paradise for adventure seekers offering them ultimate challenges.

    As the country emerges from a decade-long civil war between security forces and Maoists, tourism officials here believe it is now time to showcase the country's other cultural riches to the world.

    Nepal, home to the birthplace of Lord Buddha and a number of the most sacred Hindu sites, wants to attract visitors interested in its rich history and culture. "We are now targeting new economies like China, India, Korea, Malaysia and Thailand," says Sushil Ghimire, Secretary of the Nepal Ministry of Culture and Tourism. He explains that not only are these nations close to Nepal, but they also "share similar socio-cultural conditions".

    Important industry

    The tourism sector is a key contributor to Nepal's economic growth. Despite its political instability and poor infrastructure, the country attracted nearly 600,000 foreign tourists in 2012, a 10% cent increase on the previous year.

    The industry provides employment to more than 750,000 people in a country where the unemployment rate is more than 45%. Last year the tourism sector earned revenues of $370m (£245m) - nearly 3% of the country's gross domestic product (GDP). It is also the second biggest foreign income earner after remittances from abroad by Nepalese workers. And these numbers are likely to increase in the coming years.

    The number of Chinese visiting Nepal has seen a big jump with nearly 75,000 tourists coming to the country last year, a 60% increase from the previous year. Tourist numbers from Nepal's other giant neighbour, India, are also on the rise.

    While their focus is on attracting a new segment of tourists, officials are also trying hard to provide more options for their existing adventure tourists, who constitute about 40% of the market.

    Last year, they introduced a "Guerrilla Trail", a trek through the battlegrounds of the country's bloody war with Maoist rebels, which ended in 2006.

    Source: www.bbc.co.uk, 28th March 2013

    Tourism 'accounted for 3.6pc' of Nepal's total employment

    Nepal's travel and tourism sector accounted for 3.6 percent of the total employment in the country in 2012, according to Travel and Tourism Economic Impact 2012 Nepal published by the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC).

    The report shows that the travel trade provided 553,500 jobs directly in 2012.

    The contribution was 412,500 in 2011. The WTTCreport has projected that the travel trade sector's contribution to the country's total employment will rise by 7 percent in 2013.

    The direct employment provided by the sector includes employment by hotels, travel agents and airlines and other passenger transportation services. It also includes the activities of restaurants and leisure industries directly supported by tourists.

    Travel trade entrepreneur Ram Kazi Koney said that the impact of increased tourist movement was visible in the country's employment. In 2011, Nepal received 735,965 tourists, and the number increased to more than 800,000 in 2012.

    "Based on the theory that one tourist employs nine people, we cannot deny the fact that 553,500 jobs has been created in 2012," Koney said. "Most new jobs in the developing countries are created in the tourism industry."

    According to the WTTC , Nepal is expected to attract 946,000 international tourists in 2013. Investment in the travel and tourism sector in 2012 amounted to Rs 12.5 billion, or 4.1 percent of the total investment. The report said that investment would rise by 8.2 percent in 2013. In 2011, the tourism industry attracted capital investment of Rs 12 billion.

    "Although the Kathmandu valley has not witnessed a significant rise in investment, massive money has been poured into infrastructure like hotels and restaurants outside Kathmandu."

    In 2012, Nepal earned Rs 36.6 billion from tourism, equivalent to 24 percent of the value of the country's total exports. The income is forecast to grow by 2.1 percent in 2013 and 4.1 percent per annum from 2013 to Rs 55.6 billion in 2023. Nepal earned revenues worth Rs 28.6 billion in 2011.

    The WTTC report shows that Nepal is a popular destination for leisure activities. In 2012, foreign and domestic tourists spent Rs 84.8 billion, amounting to 79.6 percent of the direct travel and tourism GDP. Business travel spending amounted to Rs 21.7 billion.

    Nepal is likely to see more leisure travellers this year. Leisure travel spending is expected to grow by 6.6 percent to Rs 90.4 billion while business travel spending is expected to grow by 9.3 percent to Rs 23.7 billion.

    The report shows that domestic travel spending amounted to 65.7 percent of the direct travel and tourism GDP in 2012 compared to 34.3 percent for visitor exports (foreign visitor or international tourism receipts). Domestic travel spending is expected to grow by 9.8 percent to Rs 76.8 billion in 2013.

    Travel trade entrepreneurs said that the new generation was willing to travel more. They said that changing lifestyles and rising middle class incomes were the major reasons for the large movement of domestic travellers in recent years. "The hotels are not occupied by foreigners only. Since a couple of years ago, hotel occupancy particularly outside Kathmandu has been dominated by Nepali travellers," Koney said.

    The report also shows that the direct contribution of travel and tourism to the GDP was Rs 67.2 billion (4.3 percent of the total GDP) in 2012, and is forecast to rise by 7.3 percent in 2013. The total contribution of travel and tourism to the GDP was Rs 147.2 billion (9.4 percent of the GDP) in 2012.

    The total contribution of the travel and tourism sector to the GDP in 2011 was Rs 119.1 billion. The WTTC report has ranked Nepal 88 in terms of travel and tourism's direct contribution to employment and 129 in terms of attracting foreign visitors among 184 countries.

    The latest annual research from the WTTC and research partner Oxford Economics shows that the importance of travel and tourism to the wider economy continued to grow in 2012.

    Source: www.ekantipur.com, 29th March 2013

    Nepal-India-China cooperation: Quest for trilateral partnership begins

    The much talked about Nepal-India-China trilateral cooperation at the track-II level was initiated on Thursday in Kathmandu when political leaders, security experts and strategic thinkers brainstormed on ways to move ahead in a consolidated manner in various sectors.

    The first of its kind, the trilateral meeting brought to the fore some “critical” regional issues, which will be discussed in detail in the meetings to be held in Beijing and New Delhi.

    Thursday’s meeting discussed increasing the frequency of political engagements, bringing on board more stakeholders and forging a common understanding on the trilateral cooperation model, which will later work as a policy paper and guidelines for the three countries.

    On behalf of Nepal, Central Committee member of the Nepali Congress Dr Shekhar Koirala and UCPN (Maoist) leader Krishna Bahadur Mahara stressed the need for a stable Nepal, which is equally important for both India and China. “Without Nepal’s stability, India and China will not be stable. All our efforts will be in vain if we cannot win the confidence of our big neighbours,” said Koirala. He added that both the neighbours have some common concerns with Nepal, like security, water resources, development, trade and tourism. “We should brace ourselves to bring together our two neighbours for greater stability and peace in the region and Nepal in particular,” he said.

    It was agreed that the trilateral cooperation centres around the belief that Nepal can act as a catalyst to bring India and China into a collaborative relationship within the bounds of a trilateral framework and thereby, promote and facilitate a discourse of cooperation between two of the fastest growing economies of the world. “It was also agreed that specific and concrete projects or programmes would be initiated at the earliest to give immediate impetus to the concept of China-India-Nepal Trilateral Cooperation. Such projects were identified, among others, as being related to travel and tourism,” a statement issued by the organising body, the Nepal Institute of International and Strategic Studies, said. Possibilities for cooperation in energy projects were also discussed, including the idea of a trans-country power trade agreement in which electricity could be traded freely between China, India and Nepal through a regional grid connected to the three countries.

    The next meeting will be held in Beijing with New Delhi hosting the third meeting. Among the Indian participants in the meeting were Honorary Fellow at the Institute of Chinese Studies in New Delhi Ravi Bhoothalingam, Colonel Virendra Sahai Verma, also of the Institute of Chinese Studies and PhD scholar at the Jawaharlal Nehru University in New Delhi Tshering Chonzom.

    From China, the participants were Director of European Studies at the China Institute of International Studies in Beijing Cui Hongjian, Assistant Director of the South Asia-West China Cooperation and Development Studies at Sichuan University Prof Liu Jiawei and Director of the Confucius Institute in Nepal Prof Zhang Shubin. Besides Koirala and Mahara, former ambassador to India Durgesh Man Singh, Lieutenant General (retd) Sadip Bahadur Shah, Ku Man Ghising, Siddhant Raj Pandey, Bhaskar Koirala and Semanta Dahal represented Nepal. The participants later met President Ram Baran Yadav and discussed the prospects of such cooperation.

    Source: www.ekantipur.com, February 1, 2013
     

    Nepali travel expo sees massive footfall in USA: TAAN

    The Trekking Agencies’ Association of Nepal (TAAN) on Wednesday said that its participation in the Travel & Adventure Show 2013 held in Los Angeles, USA enhanced the promotion of Nepal as one of the favorite tourist destinations in the world.

    Issuing a press statement today, the trekking agencies’ umbrella organization claimed that Nepal’s participation in the fair was a resounding success. “The fair drew around 30, 000 visitors and most of the Nepali companies participating in the fair saw good footfall,” Mohan Lamsal, the general secretary of the TAAN told Xinhua today.

    Adding that the dozens of participating member companies including renowned Good Karma Trekking, White Himalayan Adventure Treks, Keep Walking Nepal Treks & Expedition and Himalayan Sherpa Adventure were satisfied with the fair, Lamsal also said, “The fair received good coverage in leading adventure magazines. Local media also gave massive coverage to the event, which I hope would increase the number of tourists’ arrival to Nepal from USA in the coming year.”

    Nepal has been welcoming a reasonable number of tourists from the USA every year. According to Nepal Tourism Board, the arrivals of tourists from the country increased by 4.9 percent in the month of December of 2012 compared to the same month of 2011.

    Source: http://www.nzweek.com/world/, January 30, 2013
     

    Upgrading of Gautam Buddha Airport by 2016

    The government plan to complete the upgrading of the Bhairahawa-based Gautam Buddha Airport to the regional airport of the international level will have accomplished by 2016.It is one of the projects which fall under the projects of the national pride.

    After the Asian Development Bank (ADB) agreed in principle to provide further assistance to the Nepal Government to implement the plan, the Gautam Buddha airport would be promoted into Nepal´s regional international airport.

    The ADB has agreed to provide both soft loan and grants to the Nepal government under the South Asian Tourism Infrastructure Development Project to develop the Gautam Buddh airport to the international standard by equipping with everything essential to the aviation.

    For the upgrading of the Gautam Buddha Airport, a Korean company had prepared a detailed project report (DPR) with design after conducting a survey in 2007/008. The DPR had pointed out the need of further amount of 42 million US dollar than the earlier allocated 38.15 million US dollar.

    The estimated amount was hugely increased after the proposal of adding 400 meter to the initially proposed 2,600 meter long runway, installation of radar, new control tower and other modern equipments in the domestic and international runways as per the standard of the International Civil Aviation Organization. Similarly, there would be the modern facilities as of a cargo, buildings to the customs and crash fire, parking places for Boeing 777-200, Air Bus A 330-300, drinking water and drainage system, and the Ghagarakhola diversion.

    Because the additional amount for the project implantation was not provided on time, the project planned to be accomplished by 2015 has now prolonged by one more year as per the amended work plan of Nepal Civil Aviation Authority.

    Vice-Chairman at the National Planning Commission, Deependra Bahadur Kshetry said the upgrading of the airport would be carried out in two phases, and the assistance for this was sought with the ADB through the Finance Ministry.

    According to the report prepared by the Korean consultant, the ADB has been written through the Finance Ministry for the immediate assistance of 42 million US dollars.

    Moreover, the ADB headquarters Manila had deputed an Australian consultant Victor Craig to study about the airport. He has now returned to Manila following the study. Mr Craig would submit the final report ascertaining whether the report presented by the Korean Company was practicable.

    The report by Mr Craig who has already worked as a technical consultant while constructing various airports in Malaysia and the Tribhuvan International Airport of Nepal would be the final one.

    "It is a very positive development that the ADB sent its consultant before assuring the grants to expedite the upgrading of the Airport which was has delayed due to the shortage of the amount," said Lok Bahadur Khatri, Chief of the Planning Division at the Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation.

    The Project Chief Murari Bhandari said the ADB Vice-Chairman and Director General to the South Asia, while they were in Nepal visit, had already suggested Nepal to the begin the construction of the airport in a single phase.

    According to him, the ADB has given very positive response to provide the amount needed for the project. Following the receipt of the acceptance by the ADB, necessary work as bidding would begin very soon.

    The ADB consultant Craig had also informed that he would submit the report in this very week.Meanwhile, the ADB Office in Nepal has made it clear that Mr Craig would come to Nepal again for study this month and submit the report to the ADB headquarters in Manila.

    Lumbini is the birthplace of the precursor of the peace, Gautam Buddha.
    The Lumbini is the sanctum sanctorum of the World´s Buddhist people.

    Source: Republica, February 3, 2013


    Mustang Among Top Three Regions to Travel in 2013

    Mustang, a region in northern Nepal, has found spot among the top three regions in Best in Travel 2013 by renowned travel guidebook Lonely Planet.

    In its November issue, Lonely Planet had also featured Nepal as one of top ten Best Value Destinations for 2013.

    While listing Mustang as the top three regions to travel in 2013, Lonely Planet has said, “It is a last chance to see this ´forbidden kingdom´ as the completion of a road connection Mustang to China in the north and the rest of Nepal to the south will make all the difference to this remote region.”

    In Best Value Destinations 2013, Lonely Plant had earlier cited that with number of visitors steadily rising, Nepal remains a tremendous option for budget travelers. It had referred that travelers in Nepal can live on the price of a Starbucks latte or two.

    Despite being the cheapest destination, the travel guidebook acknowledged that Nepal is the best-value spot for Himalayan hiking and is definitely a contender for offering the most astonishing rewards for the least upfront investment of anywhere in the world.

    As Lonely Planet serves as most reliable and referred travel guidebook by tourists worldwide, inclusion of Nepal in two of its popular categories is expected to carve a distinct impact in the country´s tourism industry.

    “Having been listed in both Top Regions and Best Value Destinations for Best in Travel 2013 series, Nepal is undoubtedly a favorite destination to be watched in 2013,” Aditya Baral, director, PR and Publicity and spokesperson for Nepal Tourism Board (NTB), said.

    He expressed delight over repeated listing of Nepal as a favorite destination in the Lonely Planet and CNN, and gave its credit to the promotional efforts made by the NTB. “Repeated listing of Nepal in the travel guide shows that the effort we have put together for the promotion of Nepal´s tourism has been paid back handsomely,” Baral added.

    Other destinations that feature in Lonely Planet´s Best in Travel 2013 list are Corsica (France), The Negev (Israel), The Kuon (Canada), Chachapoyas and Kuelap (Peru), The Gulf Coast (USA), Carinthia (Austria), Palawan (the Philippines), Inland Sea (Japan), and Campania (Italy).

    Source: Republica, December 24, 2012
     

    Ambassador of Poland to Nepal, Piotr Klodkowski has said that Nepal's future lies in the tourism industry

    Speaking at a program organized by Nepal-Poland Friendship Society in the capital on 6th December 2012, Ambassador Klodkowski said the Polish government was willing to invest in water resources, agriculture and food, and energy sector.

    Ambassador Klodkowski said relations between Poland and Nepal have been expanding at the trade, social and cultural level since the establishment of diplomatic relations on November 25, 1959.

    Ambassador Klodkowski is non-residential ambassador to Nepal and based in New Delhi.

    Source: The Himalayan Times, 6th December 2012

    Nepal bags best destination award at IITM

    Nepal received the best destination award at India International Travel Mart (IITM) in Maharashtra state of India last week.

    The India International Travel Mart — organised on November 23-25, 2012 — highlighted Nepal as the home of Mt Everest and birthplace of Lord Buddha. Nepal Tourism Board (NTB), along with six prominent travel trade partners from the country showcased diverse tourism attractions offering special packages for India’s western city Pune’s ardent travellers at the India International Travel Mart .

    Besides the pilgrimage tours of Pashupatinath and Muktinath, and city tours of Kathmandu, Pokhara and Chitwan, Nepal is increasingly becoming the nearest international trekking destination for the Pune youth, following successful ascent of Mt Everest by a Marathi Expedition team ‘Giripremi’ this spring.

    Nepal with the best flight connectivity from India has succeeded in receiving nearly 150,000 Indian visitors in the last ten months of the current fiscal year which is about 20 per cent of annual growth from India.

    Source: The Himalayan Times, 27th November 2012

    h2>Nepal unveils plans to double tourist arrival by 2016

    Nepal government has prepared a three-year tourism plan designed to stimulate economic growth, create jobs and boost private sector investment.

    The comprehensive strategy will be implemented from fiscal 2013-14 to 2015-16. Under the grand plan, the Tourism Ministry expects to create 300,000 direct jobs in tourism annually.

    According to the ministry, 120,000 jobs were created in the last fiscal year, and 150,000 jobs are expected to be created in the current fiscal year.

    Ministry officials said that a concept draft of the plan has been finalised, and that it would be sent to the National Planning Commission for further discussion. By attracting private sector investment for infrastructure development under public private partnership, the ministry aims to double annual tourist arrivals to 1.5 million from 736,215 in 2011.

    A work plan will be prepared in coordination with the private sector to carry out special promotional campaigns to attract more visitors from India and China. Likewise, promotional activities will be held in Brazil, Russia, India and China, also known as “the BRIC economies”.

    The average length of stay of visitors has been planned to be increased to 14 days from 13.12 days in 2011. The average length of stay of tourists in Nepal increased to a seven-year high of 13.12 days in 2011. Travel trade analysts have attributed this growth to a decline in strikes and increased tourist arrivals for trekking and mountaineering.

    According to the ministry’s three-year plan and vision, it will explore new destinations to encourage travellers to prolong their stay. “As security and safety is the number one requisite to prolong travellers’ stay, the government will create a conducive environment to ensure their wellbeing,” said a ministry official.

    The ministry said that the necessary policy will be formulated to regulate and encourage adventure sports, natural healing and eco-tourism, among other products. Similarly, the per day expenditure of tourists has been envisaged to increase to US$ 65. Last year, according to the ministry’s statistics, a foreign visitor spent an average of US$ 39.90 per day.

    Although, arrivals reached an all-time high in 2011, average spending by tourists dropped to US$ 39.90 last year against US$ 43.20 in 2010. The ministry’s three-year concept paper has planned raising the tourism sector’s contribution to the GDP to 4 percent from 1.8 percent in 2011.

    Under aviation development, the ministry plans to increase the number of international airlines serving Nepal to 40. Presently, 29 international airlines are operating 284 scheduled flights weekly between Kathmandu and 22 cities in Asia and Europe.

    Source: www.traveldailynews.asia, 13th December 2012

    Government of Nepal to renew air services pact with China

    The government is to review the Air Services Agreement with China. A recent meeting of the Council of Ministers decided to review the agreement as per the request of the government of China. Joint Secretary at the Ministry of Tourism and Civil Aviation, Suresh Acharya, said that the Nepal-China air services agreement review talks are going to take place soon and a Chinese team is expected to arrive here for the same after some time.

    As per the air services agreement with China, currently 16 flights are currently operated from China. Air China is operating seven flights, the China Eastern Airlines four and the China Southern three flights a week.

    China has urged Nepal for a review of the existing air services agreement for operating additional flights following an increase in the number of Chinese people willing to visit Nepal.

    In January 2012, six thousand six hundred and thirty-one Chinese tourists came to Nepal by flight while three thousand nine hundred and fifty-eight Chinese tourists came to Nepal using Tribhuvan International Airport in January this year.
    Tourism entrepreneurs say that the number of Chinese tourists visiting the country has fallen due to inadequate flights.

    China has come up with a proposal to add at least 10 flights in a week. Due to the inadequacy of flights between Nepal and China, many Chinese tourists have to opt for alternative means of travel. Nepal´s immediate northern neighbor China which is making a rapid stride in economic development has approved Nepal as the outbound destination for its citizens. It has placed Nepal as the ninth outbound tourist destination.

    Nepal has so far entered into air services agreement with 36 countries. It has been signing bilateral ASAs with different countries since five decades.
    The Ministry stated that Australia, the U.S.A., the United Kingdom, Cambodia, Indonesia and the Russian Federation have proposed Nepal for signing bilateral ASAs.

    Source: Republica, March 1, 2013

    Nepalese women set to conquer highest peaks in seven continents

    Seven young Nepalese women, who have embarked on an adventurous mission to conquer the highest peaks in world's seven continents, are set to put their feet on the fourth peak, Mt Kilimanjaro (5,895 m) of South Africa.

    The seven women -- Shailie Basnet, Maya Gurung, Pemadiki Sherpa, Pujan Acharya, Chunu Shrestha, Nimadoma Sherpa and Asha Kumari Singh -launched their campaign in May 2008 from Mt Everest (8848 m), the highest peak in the world, with an aim to promote Nepal's ailing tourism industry and set a world record.

    "Our aim is to build image of Nepal as the famous mountaineering destination in the world and to promote tourism of Nepal in all the seven continents," said team leader Shailee.

    "Three women climbers from Africa, including an African female icon, will also join the Nepalese expedition team during the journey to the Mt Kilimanzaro," she said.

    They have already climbed Mt Kosciuszko (2,228 m) of Australia and Mt Elbrus of Russia (5,642m), the highest mountain in Europe.

    They are heading towards South Africa on way to Mt Kilimanjaro to scale the peak on May 27-28 under the banner of the Seven Summit Women's Team, which aims at setting a record by climbing all the highest peaks in the seven continents.

    So far, only 51 Nepalese male have climbed all the highest peaks in the seven continents and no Nepalese female succeeded in scaling all the seven peaks.

    The Summit Team will also help launch tourism campaign in South Africa, which is an emerging tourism market for Nepal, said Subhas Niraula, acting chief of Nepal Tourism Board, while bidding farewell to the seven women climbers at Nepal Tourism Board office in Kathmandu on Sunday.We want to learn from experiences of African Jungle Safari management and apply the forest management techniques of South Africa in Nepal, he added.

    Source: http://www.ndtv.com/article/world/nepalese-women-set-to-conquer-highest-peaks-in-seven-continents-334901, February 24, 2013


    Nepal participates in Thai tourism fair

    Nepal has participated in the 12th Thai International Tourism Fair held in Thailand. In the tourism fair, Nepal promoted its various tourist products, especially Lumbini and the Buddha, said Sarad Pradhan, Media Officer at Nepal Tourism Board (NTB).

    Publicity materials related to Lumbini, the birthplace of the Buddha, and the Pashupatinath Temple, the places of reverence for the Buddhists and Hindus all over the world respectively, were kept in the tourism fair that ran February 13 through 16 in the Thai Capital.

    NTB stated that many visitors to the fair expressed their keen interest to visit Nepal and they considered Nepal as their close friendly country.

    The fair is taken as an important tourism event in Thailand and as a unique one in the Asia and Pacific region.

    Source: The Himalayan Times, February 18, 2013

     

     
     
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