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

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Nepal sees 1,635 trekkers after the earthquake

Even though the number of foreign tourists has gone down drastically after the devastating earthquake of April 25, adventure lovers are still enjoying trekking in the mountains of Nepal.

Altogether 1,635 foreign tourists enjoyed trekking trips in Nepal after the earthquake till August 18, statistics of Nepal Tourism Board (NTB) and Trekking Agencies’ Association of Nepal (TAAN) shows.

According to the statistics, 296 free individual trekkers (FITs) have enjoyed trekking trips in Nepal after the earthquake.

The number of trekkers, however, is down by 80 percent compared to figures of same period last year. In the same period last year, NTB and TAAN had issued 8,854 TIMS cards.

NTB issues TIMS cards to FITs, while TAAN distributes TIM’s cards to trekkers traveling in groups.

Trekking-in-Nepal

NTB issued 35 TIMS cards in May, 64 in June, 96 in July and 100 till August 18. It had issued 558 TIMS cards in May, 431 in July and 566 in August. NTB doesn’t have figures of June last year as its daily activities were affected in the month due to protest of Joint Tourism Coordination Committee (JTCC).”

“Nepal has not closed any trekking area after the earthquake. We have been providing TIMS cards to interested trekker”,” Ramesh Adhikari, chief administrator of NTB, said” “After the earthquake, Annapurna Region has become the most preferred destination of trekker”.”

Similarly, TAAN has issued 1,339 TIMS card after the earthquake. It issued 590 TIMS cards in May, 143 in June, 340 in July and 266 till August 18. The association had issued 3,150 TIMS cards in May, 593 in June, 1,627 in July and 1,929 in August.”

“It is good to note that adventure lovers are still trekking in Nepal in the post-quake situation that too in monso”n,” Adhikari said, addin”, “We are working to normalize the life of the people in major trekking areas. Our focus is on reconstruction and maintenance of trails and bridges so that people can trek in Nepal without any hassles in the coming seas”n.” He also said even local community of different trekking areas has taken initiative to rehabilitate trails and welcome tourists.

Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation, with the help of international agencies like World Bank and Samarth, has carried out assessment of trekking trails in Everest and Annapurna regions. Miyamoto International, a global engineering firm, carried out assessments of trails in both the regions and declared that most of the trails there are unaffected by trek and safe to visit.

Sagar Pandey, general secretary of TAAN, said they were planning series of events for the revival of trekking in Nepal. For the coming New Year, we are planning ‘New Year Walk in Langtang Region’ and Anniversary Walk on April 25 in one trekking ar”a,” Pandey sai”. “Nepal Adventure Week, which is being held in October, will help in promotion of adventure tourism as the event will see participation of representatives from different international tour operato”s.”

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Source: My Republica

Nepal Tourism Is Back On

Despite concerns about safety and infrastructure following the earthquakes earlier this year, Nepal has gotten the all-clear for tourism, including on Mt. Everest.

Nepal-Kathmandu-Valley-cr-getty

Following devastating earthquakes this spring, Nepal has officially been cleared to welcome tourists again, just in time for peak hiking season. Miyamoto, a structural engineering firm, oversaw a survey of Nepal’s infrastructure that was paid for by the British government. They determined that the country—as well as Annapurna, Mt. Everest, and other places favored by international tourists—is safe to visit. While the Nepalese government, which counts on tourism money to help boost its economy, is happy about the news, not everyone feels the same way.

“Travel insurance is the major problem for us right now,” Shiva Dhakal, the owner of the Royal Mountain Travel tour company, told The Guardian. “Travelers from the U.K. are scared.” The survey’s methods also drew concern, as it was pulled together in a short amount of time, leading some critics to argue that it wasn’t entirely thorough.

But not everyone is put off. Tauck, a U.S.-based tour operator, has announced that its previously scheduled Nepal visits this fall will go on as scheduled. The 17-day itinerary is primarily across India but includes three days in Kathmandu. Tauck corporate communications manager Tom Armstrong told Condé Nast Traveler that he felt confident sending travelers back to Nepal after his own partners there had okayed the venues they would be visiting, including the famed Dwarika’s Hotel.”We’ve been in consultation with all of our partners in Nepal since the earthquake,” he said. “We sent one of our employees, who has been to Nepal many times, in [early] July to go visit all the places our guests visit on our tour. He inspected them and found that, much to his surprise, it was better than anticipated. Based on the media coverage, there were a lot of areas that were better than he expected them to be.”

Nepal Reopens Earthquake-Damaged UNESCO Sites

The Tauck itinerary in Kathmandu includes a flight seeing trip through the Himalayas, a Q&A with a Sherpa, and a visit to the historic village of Bhaktapur. It doesn’t involve any mountain climbing, one of Nepal’s riskiest outings. The only change to the itinerary, Armstrong reports, was a planned visit to Durbar Square, one of the UNESCO sites in Kathmandu that was seriously damaged during the quakes. It has been replaced with a visit to a similar monument in less-precarious condition. “It’s definitely not intended to be an adventure itinerary,” Armstrong added. “The Nepal component is much more about history and culture. Typically, this [tour] appeals to a seasoned traveler who is culturally curious, who has traveled extensively.” He believes that people who want to help Nepal’s recovery efforts should do so by going there and spending money, as tourism is such a key part of the country’s economy.

A second Miyamoto report, this one funded by the World Bank, is due this week. It’s also expected to say that Nepal is ready to welcome back tourists.

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Source: www.cntraveler.com

Annapurna Circuit, sanctuary trails safe: Study

The structural damage in two popular trekking trails in the Annapurna Region following the earthquake of April 25 and aftershocks thereafter is very minimal, according to a study commissioned by the Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation.

The study carried out by Miyamoto International — a global engineering, construction management and project management company — only 3 percent i.e. 6 out of 250 accommodations along the trails have suffered minor repairable damages. “All 30 bridges on the trails are safe. Only around 250 meters track on the trails needs to be rerouted,” the report states.

Annapurna Base Camp Trek

The study was funded by SAMARTH-NMDP — a program supported by UKAID.

Kit Miyamoto, team leader of the assessment group, said Annapurna Region is open for business for autumn and that the region is completely safe. “However, there are some areas that have been identified as having a particularly high hazard level due to their existing features or geometry. For example, very high rock slopes and areas with evidence of historic large rock fall and slope instability,” said Miyamoto.

Minister for Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation Kripasur Sherpa said this independent assessment will help to clear negative message about Nepal in the international market. “Now we can tell the world that trekking in the region is completely safe,” he added.

The assessment team has suggested carrying out a detailed risk-assessment study of some areas including assessment of likelihood of failure, occupancy of specific areas of trail and villages, and combining these with hazard to assess the risk. “It is recommended that a detailed hazard and risk assessment is undertaken at Bagarchhap to better understand the slope stability and rapid deposition risk to villagers and tourists staying in the area. Until such time as this is complete, we recommend that the risk present at the village is considered intolerably high for overnight occupancy,” the report stated.

It has also recommended placing ‘Landslide Hazard No Stopping for 2 km’ signage on either side of the new regolith landslide north of Bhratang.

“We also recommend re-routing the section of track that is located at the scarp of the large rockslide between Kimrong and Chomrong or Jhinu Danda which is located within 2 meters from the edge of the failure. The track should be located at least 100 meters upslope from the edge of failure,” Miyamoto said, quoting the report. “The section of track that requires re-routing is approximately 250 meters long.”

The report has recommended abandoning the older section of trail south of Ghasa that leads to the old foot in favor of the road located further west that leads to the newer bridge due to landslide hazard.

“All the frequently used tracks should be checked for new failures and rock fall following monsoon rains each year,” the report states.

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Source: Myrepublica

Kathmandu calls on foreign tourists to visit the country

Nepali government officials at the 39th session UNESCO’s World Heritage Committee call for the country to be removed from the danger list for travellers. In 2014, some 800,000 tourists visited the Himalayan nation. This year, this is expected to decline by 40 per cent. Just for summer and fall, bookings should drop by 70 per cent. For Nepal, tourism is a major source of revenue.  Nepal’s government is pulling every diplomatic string to get foreign embassies to change their travel advisories so that the Himalayan nation can be considered “a safe place to visit,” this according to Kripasur Sherpa, Nepal’s Culture and Tourism minister.

ATTENTION EDITORS -- THIS IMAGE IS 20 OF 29 TO ACCOMPANY NEPAL-GOD/CULTURE, A PICTURE PACKAGE ON NEPALI BOY SAMBEG SHAKYA. SEARCH KEYWORD "GANESH" TO SEE ALL IMAGES PXP01-29 Sambeg Shakya, 6, observes the Indra Jatra Festival from a window of a house of the Living Goddess Kumari in Kathmandu September 16, 2011. Sambeg Shakya was hailed last year by Buddhist priests as Ganesh, or the god of good fortune, since when he has led several processions of Nepal's better-known 'living goddesses', also known as Kumari. The centuries-old ritual, once used by now-toppled kings who thought it would make them stronger, was the climax of the annual Hindu festival of Dasain, which lasts for two weeks and has become a major tourist attraction in Nepal.  Sambeg will continue in his supporting role until he is big enough to fit in a chariot pulled by men, after which he must return to real life. Picture taken September 16, 2011. REUTERS/Navesh Chitrakar (NEPAL - Tags: RELIGION SOCIETY POLITICS)

Almost two months after the terrible earthquake that struck the country on 25 April killing more than 8,700 people, the authorities want to jumpstart the tourist sector, a key component of the country’s economy.

Speaking to AsiaNews, Mr Sherpa said, “the earthquake affected only a small portion of the territory and now visitors are no longer at risk. Almost 80 per cent of the country and many tourist destinations were not touched by the powerful earthquake”.

In view of this, “when foreign countries change their travel advisories and remove Nepal from their danger lists, we can restart the tourism industry thanks to visitors from the United States, Europe and Asia.”

Nepal welcomed 800,000 visitors last year, but the government anticipates a 40 per cent drop this year due to the earthquake. For summer and fall, bookings are expected to plunge by 70 per cent.

For this reason, the country’s representatives attended the 39th Session of UNESCO’s World Heritage Committee in Bonn in late June. On that occasion, Nepal asked foreign governments to lift the travel ban to Nepal.

Bhesh Narayan Dahal, director general of the Department of Archaeology (DoA), attended the meeting and confirmed that the organisation had accepted Nepali demands, urging other governments to take action to that effect.

According to the DoA, the earthquake damaged some 745 historical, cultural and religious monuments in 20 districts. Of these, 133 were destroyed whilst remaining 612 were partially damaged.

“We are trying to convince foreign nations that Nepal is safe, and we want to encourage them to visit our country,” said Foreign Minister Mahendra Pandey.

“Nepal is one of the most popular tourist destinations,” he explained. “Visitors can explore the mountains, the Himalayas, cultural sites and many other destinations in complete security.”

Following the appeal by UNESCO, the United States, Switzerland, New Zealand, the Netherlands and Great Britain have lifted their travel advisory. Mr Sherpa noted that he met the ambassadors of India and China to ask them to encourage their citizens to visit. Together, Indian and Chinese visitors represent 30 per cent of all tourists.

“We want to tell the truth and improve our image,” said the minister. “Nepal is a safe place to visit.”

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Source: asianews.it

Nepal in Lonely Planet’s best travel destinations

Nepal has been included in the top list of the best places to travel this October by the world’s leading travel guide Lonely Planet.

“Everyone has seen the news reports from the April 25 earthquake in Nepal, but most reports neglected to mention that most of Nepal was untouched by the disaster, including the most popular trekking areas,” the travel guide said. “With the clearing of the monsoon rains, October is once again peak season for trekking, and the Annapurna region is a great, nay epic, place to start.”

Annapurna-region

From the gateway town of Pokhara, which saw little damage from the tremor, classic trekking routes such as the Annapurna Circuit and Annapurna Sanctuary Trek offers the kind of views normally reserved for mountaineers, it said.

Pokhara is easy to reach from Kathmandu, also fully open for business, and it’s easy to make arrangements for a trek on arrival. “In the process, you’ll be performing a valuable social service, helping Nepal to rebuild after the disaster by investing directly in the local economy.”

The Annapurna Circuit is the most popular trekking route in Nepal . It includes the high pass of Thorong-La. The trek reaches an altitude of 5,416 metres at Thorong-La, touching the edge of the fabled Tibetan plateau. The magnificent mountain scenery seen at close quarters includes Annapurna 8,091 metres, Dhaulagiri 8,167 metres and Machhapuchchhre 6,993 metres. Every year, more than 100,000 trekkers visit the Annapurna area, 50 percent of whom visit the circuit.

Other places recommended by the travel guide are Jordan’s Petra, Mexico, Britain, Italy and New Mexico for the world-renowned Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta.

With most of the countries lifting their negative travel advisories on Nepal, travel traders are optimistic that the country’s tourism will bounce back by autumn this year.

Recently, the US, UK and New Zealand lifted restrictions on their citizens travel ling to Nepal except to the districts hardest hit by the April 25 earthquake and aftershocks. A few countries have toned down their travel advisories.

The government, in a bid to revive the tourism industry, has been persuading countries to consider Nepal in regard to the travel alerts they have imposed after the earthquake.

The government has projected losing 40 percent of the tourists this year due to the mass departure of the visitors after the earthquake. Trip cancellations for the upcoming seasons are estimated to be more than 70 percent.

The Post-Disaster Needs Assessment report has pointed out that Nepal will significantly lose high-end tourists, but the low-end segment and backpackers will stick to their travel plans to visit the country.

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Source:Ekantipur