Aussie delegation terms Nepal a safe tourist destination

An Australian delegation led by lawmaker Jing Lee returned home today after completing a weeklong visit.

Speaking at a press meet at Tribhuvan International Airport (TIA) before her departure, lawmaker Lee said her delegation arrived here seeking to support Nepal in its ongoing post-earthquake reconstruction campaign and added that Nepal is safe for travel.

Nepal a safe tourist destination

During her Nepal visit, she found it safer, she shared her experiences, urging the international community to visit Nepal and help it in the reconstruction efforts. Nepal is rich in history, art, culture and adventurous trekking routes, mountains, flora and fauna and natural possessions have made it a wonderful tourist destination, she described.

In her words, one must visit Nepal once. She said during its stay here, the delegation member visited the areas within the Kathmandu Valley, Pokhara, and Chitwan and was mesmerized by the natural beauty of Pokhara.

Traditional art and culture inherited by the capital, extra-ordinary natural beauty possessed by Pokhara, an elephant riding in Chitwan and hospitality shown by the Nepali citizen to them touched their hearts and made a print in their minds, the Australian guest said.

Lee born in Malaysia is currently the lawmaker from the Australia ruling party Liberal Party of Australia.

Nepal a safe tourist destination

Nepal a safe tourist destination

Our visit was aimed at giving a message to the world that Nepal that resisted a major earthquake last year is safe as a tourist destination, she said, adding that after return home, she would encourage the Australian people to visit Nepal. She said she would take her time at the parliament there to inform lawmakers about Nepal and its beauty. During the visit, the Austrian lawmaker called on the Prime Minister and the Minister for Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation, some of her counterparts and the government senior officials.

At the press meet, Nepal’s Honorary Consul to the South Australia Deepak Dhamala said Lee’s visit has helped further consolidate the bilateral ties existing between Nepal and Australia.

Lawmaker Lee is also learnt to have individually contributed to the Prime Minister’s Natural Disaster Fund in the wake of the powerful earthquake (April 25, 2015) in the country.

Source: Myrepublica

Popular Ghorepani-Poonhil trek route upgraded

Hotel and tourism entrepreneurs of Ghorepani have come together to upgrade the popular trekking route of Ghorepani-Poonhil.

ghorepani-poonhill-trek
In the past three years, more than Rs. 7 million has been spent in improving the condition of the trekking route, according to Ghorepani Hotel Management Committee. Last year, the committee had received Rs. 500,000 from the District Development Committee, and the remaining was contributed by the entrepreneurs.
The upgrading work was carried out in the 700 meters of Ghorepani-Poonhil route, 400 meters of Ghorepani-Shikha route and 200 meters of Ghorepani-Tikhedhunga route, said chairperson of the Committee Junu Pun. Work is still underway in the three kilometer Ghorepani-Ghandruk route.
The committee has been collecting funds including annual tax raised by the hotel, tourist tax and donations.

The Ghorepani region receives some 30,000 tourists every year. There are 22 well-equipped hotels in Ghorepani with an investment of more than Rs. 5 million. Ghorepani was opened to tourists in 1970. RSS

Follow and share our more detail from our social media : Facebook, Pinterest and Twitter

Is it time to go back to Nepal?

On 25 April and 12 May 2015, deadly earthquakes struck central Nepal, causing catastrophic damage to Kathmandu and the surrounding valleys. Harrowing pictures of magnificent temples turned to rubble and concrete hotels collapsed on their foundations were beamed around the world. Five months on from the disaster, Nepal has declared itself open for tourism, but is now the right time to come back to Nepal, and what exactly will you find when you get here?

ADB photo

Image by Asian Development Bank

Assessing the damage
Media images at the time of the earthquakes made it look as though Nepal was completely destroyed, with its astonishing cultural heritage in ruins. The truth makes for less sensational headlines: while 130 historic temples collapsed across the country, only 14 of Nepal’s 75 districts suffered damage, and many of Nepal’s most famous sights escaped completely unscathed.

Even at the height of the disaster, travellers were relaxing in the resort town of Pokhara, unaware of the destruction to towns just 50km away. In Kathmandu, the vast majority of hotels reopened within days of the earthquakes, with just a handful of historic heritage hotels remaining closed for repairs.

This is not the first time Nepal has faced an earthquake of this scale, and as in 1934, Nepalis have stepped in to save what can be saved, and are now rebuilding for the future. How quickly this can happen will depend to a large degree on how quickly tourists return to the country and invest in the local economy.

Here is an overview of how different parts of Nepal are recovering after the disaster.

Kathmandu suffered the full force of the earthquakes, and damage was extensive, but localised to specific parts of the city. Four of the iconic temples in the UNESCO-listed Durbar Square collapsed completely including the multi-tiered Maju Deval Temple, one of Kathmandu’s most famous landmarks but the majority of temples still stand and the square is once again open to sightseers.

The royal palace of Hanuman Dhoka remains closed due to structural damage to the southern courtyards, but work is underway to reopen the museum and palace chambers. Perhaps the most photographed casualty of the earthquake was the Bhimsen Tower, which collapsed completely for the second time in its history (it was also destroyed in the 1934 earthquake). Today, it stands as a ruined plinth, but developers have pledged to rebuild it.

Other major World Heritage Sites such as the magnificent Buddhist stupas at Swayambhunath and Bodhnath were only mildly affected; restoration work has repaired the most obvious damage and the most tangible evidence for the disaster is some lingering scaffolding. The sacred Hindu pilgrimage site of Pashupatinath saw a terrible tide of funeral cremations following the earthquake but the site itself was mostly undamaged.

Patan krishna Mandir

Image by Rene C. Nielsen

Patan, Bhaktapur & the Kathmandu Valley

Despite the loss of some landmark monuments, including the famous Char Narayan and Hari Shankar temples, Patan’s Durbar Square and its stunning Patan Museum are open as normal. The quakes took a heavy toll on the traditional brick buildings of Bhaktapur, but here too, most of the medieval temples are still standing, including Nepal’s tallest, the five-storey Nyatapola Temple.

Elsewhere in the Kathmandu Valley, the damage was patchy. Some places escaped with minor cracks, while towns like Sankhu and Bungamati saw temple after temple crumble to rubble. While the valley is definitely open to travellers, it’s worth checking with locals before heading off from Kathmandu to be clear on which areas are still off-limits due to reconstruction following the disaster.

pokhra-nepal

Image by Mike Behnken

Across the country

Looking beyond the Kathmandu Valley, the historic towns of Nuwakot and Gorkha and their fortress-palaces were particularly badly affected due to their proximity to the epicenters of the two tremors, and the quakes caused extensive damage to the road to the Tibetan border and the Langtang Valley. However, away from the center of the country, there are few signs that the earthquake ever happened.

The east and west of the country were not seriously affected by the disaster, and most damage is restricted to trekking routes in remote areas. The tourist and trekking hub of Pokhara was effectively untouched and the trekking routes around it have been surveyed and declared safe. Despite damage to some villages along the trails, trekking in the Everest region has also been declared safe.

In the lowlands, the towns and national parks of the Terai were almost entirely unaffected. Wildlife safaris in Chitwan National Park and Bardia National Park continue as normal and the number of tigers in Nepal is actually on the rise, bucking the regional trend. The birthplace of the Buddha at Lumbini – an increasingly popular stop on the overland route between India and Nepal – also escaped unharmed.

lukla-airport

Image by Chris Marquardt

Travelling to Nepal after the earthquake

The key thing to note is that infrastructure for tourists was remarkably unaffected by the disaster. Airports are operating as normal and almost all of Kathmandu’s tourist hotels and restaurants remain open, or will reopen for the winter tourist season, though business is currently slim. Kathmandu’s traveller district of Thamel is much as it was before the disaster, and transportation around the city, the Kathmandu Valley and the country continues as normal.

The main roads across Nepal are open to traffic (or as open as they ever were!), and the Arniko Hwy/Friendship Hwy to Tibet and Everest’s North Base Camp (in Tibet) is due to reopen for the 2015 winter season. However, roads are still cut off in some rural areas, where earthquake damage has been worsened by monsoon landslides. This situation is likely to persist for some time, so it pays to confirm that roads are clear and that accommodation will be available before leaving Kathmandu.

local

Image by Wonderlane

So should I go ?
In August, the US and UK lifted their country-wide travel advisories against travel to Nepal, meaning that travellers and companies can once again get travel insurance for upcoming trips. Most western travel companies plan to run trekking trips as normal for the 2015/16 winter and spring seasons and some companies are even offering special reconstruction treks, though it’s now more important than ever to do some research and partner with a reliable NGO that has long-established links with the country.

Of course, Nepal still has its problems – including a fuel shortage caused by a political stand-off with India over the new Nepali constitution – but these kinds of issues are part of the landscape when travelling in the subcontinent. Despite these problems, in many ways now is a great time to visit Nepal.

The infrastructure that travellers need is in place, but tourism is down by over 50%, which means fewer crowds on the popular trekking routes and discounts for hotels and airfares. More importantly, the money you spend when hiring a guide or porter, staying in a lodge or hotel, or eating in a restaurant will directly help local people. Given that 500,000 Nepalis work directly in tourism, the country needs travellers more than ever to rebuild its economy and bounce back stronger for the future.

Follow and share our more detail from our social media ; Facebook, Pinterest and Twitter.

Source: www.lonelyplanet.com

Nepal ready to welcome tourists, says envoy

Ambassador of Nepal in India, Deep Kumar Upadhyaya today said that Nepal was completely safe and ready to welcome tourists. The Himalayan kingdom is looking forward to having visitors from India.

2015_7$largeimg02_Jul_2015_231730810

Upadhyaya was speaking at a seminar “Nepal: Tourist Destination” organized here today by Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) in collaboration with the Embassy of Nepal, here today.

“Open border between the two countries has ensured an uninterrupted flow of people and in 2013 a total of 1.80 lakh Indians visited Nepal,” he said. Upadhyaya said Indian visitors constituted 23 per cent of the total tourists visiting Nepal. “All Himalayan states, including India and Nepal, must jointly promote spiritual tourism as there is vast potential and joint marketing will help all the countries reap the benefits and beckon international tourists,” he said.

Vice-chairman of the state tourism development board suggested that all Himalayan states in India must join hands to form National Regional Hill Development Authority of which Nepal and Bhutan can also be members.

This would not only help strengthen relations between the neighboring countries but also help in reconstruction of severely damaged Kathmandu through tourism, power besides many other areas of mutual cooperation.

Mani Raj Lamichhane, Head of Department of Tourism Products and Resources Development, Nepal Tourism Board, gave a detailed presentation, highlighting tourism opportunities in Nepal and prospects and benefits of developing mutla packages for visitors from both countries.

Follow and share our more detail from our social media ; Facebook Pinterest and Twitter.

Source: www.tribuneindia.com

Nepal tourism appoints son of Edmund Hillary to promote Everest mission

After the Earthquake Nepal’s Everest missions has taken a back seat as people are weary to scale the peaks in fear of avalanches. The Nepal government on May 28, 2015 observed the international Everest Day marking the conquest of the world’s highest peak by Edmund Hillary and Tanzing Norgey Sherpa 62 years ago. The day was observed with intentions of reviving tourism in the country.

Peter-Hillary-son-of-Edmund-Hillary

In a bid to call back tourists the Nepalese Tourism Minister Kripasur Sherpa appealed to international tourists to visit the country. He assured them that there are still many safe and beautiful places which include heritage and cultural sites along with trekking trails that have remained intact despite the devastating earthquakes.

The minister looked for support from the private sector. He felt that together the public and private sector can rebuild the losses that Nepal has met with.

The mountaineering sector was suffering losses since 2013 when 16 mountain guides were killed in April 18. But the Earthquake in central and North-West Nepal was hit by the devastating earthquakes. The avalanche from the quake killed 18 people which had 5 foreigners and all expeditions had to be brought to a halt.The area is under grave threat owing to melting glaciers and continued avalanches. The country needs faith and support from international tourists and climbers to get things back in tempo.

Before the quakes thousands of climbers trekked the Everest each year providing employment to the Sherpas and bringing millions of dollars for the Government. If Everest mission should stop it would amount to grave losses for the government. So the government has appointed 19 goodwill ambassadors which include Peter Hillary, son of Edmund Hillary, Jamling Tenzing, son of Tenzing Sherpa, Junko Tabei, the first women Everest Summiteer from Japan and Reinhold Mesner, Italy, who climbed the Everest without oxygen for the first time. They will help promote tourism in Nepal.

Source: Travel And Tour World

Individual Everest permits also extended for 5 years

The government has made amendment to Mountaineering Regulations, allowing mountaineers, who took individual permits to climb Mt Everest in spring last year, to use the permit over the next five years.

Earlier, the government had extended validity of only group permits. But the decision had draw flak from mountaineers who said it was not possible for all members in the team to gather at the same time for the expedition. Minister of General Administration Lal Babu Pandit said that the cabinet has decided to allow individual climbers to use their climbing permits over the next five years.

everest_2008_1296

A total of 334 climbers of 32 expedition teams, including a Nepali team, had received permits to climb Mt Everest last year. The climbers, however, are required to pay US$ 1,000 to the Department of Tourism (DoT) based on the new royalty structure. The government reduced royalty fee for foreigners climbing Mt Everest from normal route, also known as the South East Ridge, to $11,000 per person from $25,000 per person with effect from January1, 2015.

All expedition teams called off their expedition after a deadly avalanche near Camp II of Mt Everest killed 16 Sherpa guides in April last year. “With the amendment in Mountaineering Regulations, we are hopeful that the number of mountaineers on Mt Everest will increase this year. We will see new climbers as well as those who had cancelled their trip last year,” Pushpa Raj Katuwal, chief of Mountaineering Section at DoT, told Republica.

According to Katuwal, the government has issued climbing permits to five teams so far. Meanwhile, DoT will send two liaison officers who will man the government’s contact office at the Everest Base Camp for the entire climbing season. The government has already prepared Terms of Reference (ToR) for the liaison officers.

“With this arrangement, we believe climbers will feel much safer. Also, they can get the required information in time,” he added. The liaison officers will provide weather updates, coordinate rescue operations in case of emergencies and settle disputes arising among climbing parties.

The government has changed climbing route slightly this year to avoid the where avalanche hit mountaineering workers last year. According to the department, climbers will have to deviate around 40 meters right of the regular trail which will extend the trip to Camp I by around two hours.

“In case the government reduces climbing permit fee in the next five years, we will refund the climbers accordingly,” Tulsi Prasad Gautam, director general of DoT, said.

Source: Republica