Tourist inflow via air sees exponential growth

Visitors to Nepal

Visitors to Nepal

Tourist inflow to Nepal jumped by 46.8 per cent in the first six months of 2017, indicating signs of recovery in the tourism industry that was shattered by the devastating earthquake of April 25, 2015 and the subsequent trade disruptions.

According to the Department of Immigration, the country received a total of 460,237 tourists in the first half of this year via air route, against 313,512 in the corresponding period of the previous year. Tourist arrivals in the first half of this year surpassed the figure of 2014, before the earthquake struck when country had received 412,461 tourists in the first six months.

Travel and tour entrepreneurs are upbeat about the revival of the tourism industry along with the increase in tourist arrivals.

“The earthquake and fuel crisis had adversely affected the flow of tourists in 2015 and 2016, but though the figure has increased this year, it is still a far cry from our target to bring in two million tourists by 2020,” said Madhusudan Acharya,president of Nepal Association of Tour and Travel Agents (NATTA).

Nepal a safe tourist destination

Nepal a safe tourist destination

Tourism entrepreneurs have cited weak infrastructure and high airfare as the major obstacles in tourist arrival growth.

“Nepal has been included among the top 10 travel destinations in 2017 by the Lonely Planet, a leading travel guide. Despite the positive message disseminated across the world, tourist flow is still tepid,” according to Binayak Shah, general secretary of Hotel Association Nepal.

Tourist arrival was at a record high in 2012, when the country had received 803,000 visitors by air. Entrepreneurs have said that the country is likely to receive even more number of tourists this year as the inflow of tourists is normally higher in the second half. The period between September and November is considered as the best tourist season in Nepal.

Kathmandu Durbar Square

Kathmandu Durbar Square

HAN General Secretary Shah informed that along with the large number of international organisations working in Nepal for post-quake reconstruction activities, the flow of visitors also increased as the reconstruction works gathered momentum since the beginning of this year. He stressed on the need to expand the country’s only international airport — Tribhuvan International Airport — and improve road connectivity.

“Air traffic congestion, high airfare and bleak road conditions are the major bottlenecks to raise the number of tourists,” Shah asserted. He alleged that the government is not serious towards developing critical infrastructure even though the private sector has substantially increased investment in the sector.

Visitor in Nepal

Visitor in Nepal

Shah also pointed out the prospect of bringing in more tourists from neighbouring India and China as the number of outbound travellers has been growing in these countries. Though the number of outbound travellers has been rising in India and China, the country has failed to tap the potential due to high airfare, he stated. “The airfare to Kathmandu is relatively higher at $350 for a 30-minute flight.”

In the January to June period this year, the country received a high number of tourists from India with a total of 89,196 visitors from the southern neighbour followed by China with 52,084 travellers via air. The country had received 54,224 tourists from India and 33,991 tourists from China in the same period of the previous year.

Source: Thehimalayantimes

Janai Purnima Festival

Janai Purnima

A toddler gets her wrist colourful with doro (Hindu’s traditional threads of different colours) from a Pandit (Hindu Priest) celebrating Janai Poornima

The tagadharis or those who wear the ‘Janai’ (the sacred thread) around their bodies from the left shoulder change the sacred thread on Tuesday after having a haircut and a bath on the occasion of ‘Janai Purnima’, also known as ‘Rishi Tarpani’.

This festival observed by the Hindus, especially of the Shaiva sect, on the full moon day in the Nepali month of Saun is also popularly known as ‘Gunhu Punhi’ in the Newar community.

According to the time-honoured tradition, the people receive the ‘Rakshya Bandhan’ thread, which is tied around the wrist as an amulet. The yellow thread is purified through the chanting of mantras by Brahmin priests as a symbol of protection from fear and disease. They also observe the occasion as ‘Kwanti Purnima’.

Kwanti Purnima

Kwanti a soup prepared from nine different beans, is a special delicacy added to the Nepali menu today.

The ‘Kulabarna Tantra’, a Tantrik scripture, says that the soup is highly nutritious and keeps diseases away.

In the Terai region, there is a tradition in which sisters tie an attractive ‘Rakhi’ around the wrist of their brothers wishing them long life and prosperity.

Thousands of devotees worship lord Shiva at Pashupatinath in Kathmandu and at Kumbheswor in Lalitpur and take holy dips in ponds and lakes.

Janai Purnima

People in Pashupatinath Area gather to get Raksha Bandhan tied around their wrists on the occasion of Janai Purnima.

Religious fairs are held at Gosaikunda, an alpine area in Rasuwa District, and at Dansanghu, Triveni in Jumla district to observe the festival with offerings of worship to Lord Shiva. A big religious fair takes place at the Gosaikunda Lake and pilgrims come from faraway places to take a holy dip in this lake and other lakes nearby.

Religious fairs take place today at Pashupati and Manichud of Kathmandu; Gosaikunda of Rasuwa; Kumbheshwar of Lalitpur; Panchpokhari of Sindhupalchowk; Janakpurdham, Dhanush Sagar and Ganga Sagar of Dhanusha; Dansanghu of Jumla and Trivenidham of Nawalparasi.

Janai Purnima

The Buddhists observe this day in commemoration of the day the Lord Gautama Buddha defeated the evil power of lust. This episode is well-described in the Buddhist scripture ‘Lalitbistar’. A special fair takes place at Swayambhunath of Kathmandu today for this reason.

Source: Kathmandupost

Naag Panchami in Nepal

Nag Panchami Pooja

Nag Panchami Pooja

Nag Panchami is the day of snakes. Nags are worshiped this day in Nepal. Nags are snakes and Panchami means the fifth day after no-moon day.

Nags are worshiped on the fifth day following the no-moon (aushi). Hence, the day is called Nag Panchami. Aushi means no-moon day in Nepali.

What is Nag?

Nags are deity snakes or special snakes. Those snakes have especial roles in Hindu Mythologies.

There are various mythological beliefs about Nagpanchami and its celebration.

Mahabharata tells that Lord Krishna conquered Nag Kalia and put an end to his evil deeds on the day of Shrawan Panchami. People believe that is the reason why people started celebrating this panchami as Nag Panchami.

Kathmandu valley used to be a big lake. Nags became very angry when human drained the lake to make it livable. To protect themselves against the anger of Nagas, people gave nags certain areas as pilgrimage destinations, and promise to worship them on the day, returning harmony in nature. That is continued till date.

Lord Bhrama’s son Kashyap rishi had thirteen wives namely Aditi, Dit, Kadru, Danu, Arishta, Surasa, Sauravi, Vinata, Tamra, Krodhavasa, Ida, Khasa, and Muni. Aditi gave birth to Devta, Diti to Garud, Kadroo to Nags, Danu to Daitya.

Those Nags were the rulers of Patal lok.The great eight nags are Ananta, Vashuki, Padhmanavha, Kambala, Shankhapala, Dhartarashtra, Takshaka, and Kaliya. These Nags were very powerful and worshiped.

Nag Panchami Pooja

Nag Panchami Pooja

How is Nag Panchami celebrated in Nepal

In this day, Nepali traditionally post pictures of Nags above the doors of their homes to keep off evil spirits. They worship the nag by offering a symbol of milk (the white color liquid from the paste of rice). People keep milk for snakes near snake holes.

People make cottons garland, use cow dung and rice flour’s serpent’s from and worship it with cow’s milk, lava, barley, sesame, nuts and with some other religious items. It is believed that if Nag-Panchami is observed properly every year the Nags provide us good health wealth and blessing during our life. If Nags are angry they make us sick and no medicine can heal.

Nag Pooja Celebration at Nag Pokhari Naxal

Nag Pooja Celebration at Nag Pokhari Naxal

Puran says the earth is lifted by Shesh Nag on his head. Lord Vishnu is sleeping on its coil inside the Ocean. Kali Nag, Bashuki Nag, Astha Nag, Padma Nag; and the Karkot Nags are the very powerful Nags.

Scripture explains that without Nags’ help there will be no rain.So people worship Nags for the cause of water, offer prayers to Nags, and place food items such as milk and honey in their fields for Nags.

Few men wearing demon masks dance in the streets as a part of a Nag Panchami ritual.

We have our own myths and legends surrounding Nags, which lead us to celebrate Nag Panchami on a large scale.

Chaliye Pokhara (Lets go to Pokhara) campaign holds interaction in Patna, India

Chaliye Pokhara (Lets go to Pokhara)

Chaliye Pokhara (Lets go to Pokhara)

A team of Nepal tourism entrepreneurs held an interaction with Indian tourism entrepreneurs and media-persons in Patna, the capital of India’s Bihar state today.

The team is there as part of a campaign to publicise Nepal’s tourist destinations and attract India tourists. The efforts are part of the campaign entitled ‘Chaliye Pokhara’ in Hindi language (Lets go to Pokhara in English) started six years ago by the Western Region Hotel Association, Pokhara in support of the Nepal Tourism Board.

The campaign that is held every year will conclude on July 4 for this year.

Chaliye Pokhara (Lets go to Pokhara)

Chaliye Pokhara (Lets go to Pokhara)

The interaction focused on making Nepal’s tourist destinations known to Indian community and attracting the locals, said one of the participants of the team. The team includes 30 members from among tourism entrepreneurs of Pokhara and Lumbini, officials of the NTB and media-persons.

Another interaction will be held in Lucknow later today, said the Association’s President Bikal Tulachan.

Chaliye Pokhara (Lets go to Pokhara)

Chaliye Pokhara (Lets go to Pokhara)

The campaign is aimed at reviving and strengthening tourism that was affected badly by the April 2015 earthquake, the India-imposed economic blockade and Tarai-Madhes protests.

Under the campaign, Indian tourists will be invited to visit Pokhara with an offer of a special package, said the Association’s General Secretary Ganesh Raj Pahari.

Source: TOURISMMAIL

Nepali runners dominate Everest Marathon

Suman Kulung and Nirkala Rai have won the men’s and women’s category of Tenzing-Hillary Everest Marathon held in the Everest Region on Monday.

Kulung, who ferries loads of trekkers between Lukla and Everest Base Camp, completed the 42.195 kilometers race in 3:43:57 hours. The 26-year-old Kulung had secured third position in last year’s marathon. Similarly, Nepal Army athletes Surendra Basnet and Bed Bahadur Sunuwar secured second and third positions, respectively, with the timing of 3:52:8 hours and 4:5:40 hours.

The highest marathon in the world begins from the Everest Base Camp (5,300 meters) and concludes at Namche Bazaar (3,450 meters).

Everest Marathon 2017

Everest Marathon 2017

The event is organized every year on May 29 to commemorate the first ascent of Mt Everest by Tenzing Norgay Sherpa and Edmund Hillary back in 1953.

Similarly, Nirkala clinched the women’s title with the timing of 4:51:33 hours. Purnima Rai and Dawa Doma Sherpa finished in the second and third positions, respectively, completing the marathon in 5:07:26 hours and 5:37:43 hours. All the three ladies are from Solukhumbu district.

The top three finishers in both categories became richer by Rs 100,000, Rs 75,000 and Rs 50,000, respectively.

Everest Marathon 2017

Everest Marathon 2017

Pitor Hercog of Poland won the foreigner’s category with the timing of 4:38:22 hours. Robert Celinski, also from Poland, clocked 4:48:48 hours to secure second position, while French runner Fabrice Arman stood third with the timing of 5:28:30 hours.

Meanwhile, Nepal Army athletes clean swept the 60 km ultra-marathon. Tirtha Bahadur Tamang secured first position clocking 6:38:56 hours, while Mohan Dev Joshi (7:18:16 hours) and Purna Tamang (7:30:00 hours) secured second and third positions, respectively.

The top three finishers in the ultra and foreigner’s categories were given equal amount of Rs 100,000 Rs 75,000 and Rs 50,000.

The event was organized by Himalayan Expeditions.

Source: Travelpress

Himalayan Travel Mart 2017 kicks off in Kathmandu

The International Travel Bloggers and Media Conference kicked off here in the capital on Thursday.

This is the first time that the conference has been organised in the country to promote the message in the global tourism market that Nepal is the gateway to the Himalayas. The theme of the conference is – Nepal Gateway to the Himalaya.

Taking part in the meet are 107 travel bloggers from 33 countries, 70 travel and tourism-related experts and more than 100 journalists from various countries.

Himalayan Travel Mart 2017

Himalayan Travel Mart 2017

In the biggest tourism event ever, held at Budhanilkantha in the capital, the participants shared knowledge and experience regarding the tourism products of their respective countries, the use of digital media and the new practices in the field.

Experts from various countries shared information on the tourism market, tourism products and ways of promoting both.

Some 500 people from home and abroad participated in the conference organized by the Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA) Nepal Chapter as the executive organizer, the Ministry of Tourism and Civil Aviation as the host and Nepal Tourism Board as the main organizer.

Himalayan Travel Mart 2017

Himalayan Travel Mart 2017

Minister for Health Gagan Kumar Thapa, inaugurating the conference, said that the conference, organised with a new vision of tourism and a long-term goal, would play a key role in promoting Nepal’s tourism in the world market.

He opined that Nepal’s tourism would be much benefited from the promotional programme through this international level conference in the context of the Nepali tourism market with high potentials in terms of natural, geographical and cultural aspects not been reaping the expected benefits.

He also stressed the need of the government and the private sector to work together for further promoting the country’s tourism.

Himalayan Travel Mart 2017

Himalayan Travel Mart 2017

Chief Executive Officer of Nepal Tourism Board, Deepak Raj Joshi, highlighting the potentialities of Nepal’s tourism market, reiterated that the conference would be useful in giving a new message to the global tourism market.

PATA CEO Mario Hardy described the conference as the appropriate forum for promoting new tourism product in the global tourism by exploring the avenues for nature and culture tourism of Nepal, a country of the Himalayas.

PATA Nepal Chapter president Suman Pandey said that the conference has been organized with the objective of promoting Nepal’s tourism throughout the world through digital media.

Health Minister Thapa also launched the special issue of Himalaya Travel Magazine on the occasion.

Source: Tourismmail