Nepal hopes for more Indian tourists for rapid recovery

Only a third of a total 30,000 seats a week under an air service agreement with India is available due to the limited number of flights between Nepal and India. Tourism entrepreneurs say that gap needs to be cut airlines to help Nepal’s tourism sector recover after the earthquake of April.

Ujjwala Dali, the officiating director of the marketing and promotion department of Nepal Tourism Board (NTB), says Nepal needs to bring more Indian tourists not only to fill the remaining seats but also for the tourism industry to recover faster. In an effort to get back on their feet, four months after the devastating earthquake Nepal’s tourism entrepreneurs have travelled all the way to Bangalore and are organizing promotional events there to promote Nepal as a tourist destination and attract Indian tourists.

NTB organized promotional events at the Bangalore Press Club hoping the media there will help relay a message to the people there to visit Nepal.

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Speaking at the event, Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA) Nepal Chapter Chairman Suman Pandey said that recognized tour operators and renowned international organizations who had visited Nepal after the earthquake as well as positive advisories from different countries had declared Nepal a safe place to visit. Tourism was open in the country, he said.

Nepal has also launched the NEPAL: BACK ON TOP OF THE WORLD campaign to broadcast that tourism services had resumed and to help bring in foreign tourists.

At an event here in Bangalore, NTB also made public a logo and a slogan ‘NEPAL: BACK ON TOP OF THE WORLD’ to convey the message that Nepal was open for business and ready to welcome tourists.

“The logo and slogan are a part of our recovery campaign and will go on for six months. We request all of you to visit Nepal and be a part of the campaign and help Nepal rebuild,” NTB’s Dali said.

To bring in more Indian tourists to Nepal, Nepal Airlines Corporation (NAC) launched direct flights to Bangalore on September 1, and to Mumbai on Friday after a decade’s hiatus.

“We have announced a special ‘buy two tickets get one free’ offer on round-trip tickets on Kathmandu-Bangalore flights targeting Indian tourists,” Ram Hari Sharma, the corporate director of NAC, said.

Govinda Bahadur Karki, the director general of the Department of Tourism, says that as many as 61 districts out of the total of 75 are unaffected or least-affected by the quake and were ready to welcome tourists while the 14 quake-hit districts are also getting back on their feet and rebuilding.

“After the quake, Nepal had immediately formed the Nepal Tourism Promotion Committee (NTPC) for to work on the recovery of the tourism industry. We have also formed the Nepal Reconstruction Authority (NRA) as a high-powered authority to execute recovery and reconstruction programs,” Karki said.

Pandey says Nepal is expecting to bring in visitor levels to at least 60 to 70 percent of previous times this autumn and hopes to hit the previous levels in the spring of 2016. The country received around 800,000 tourists in 2014.

NAC TO FLY TO Kolkata, SRI LANKA

NAC says it will start flights to Kolkata and Sri Lanka in the near future. Saroj Kasaju, the commercial director of NAC, says the flag carrier is working to begin flights to Kolkata directly and plan to fly to Sri Lanka via Bangalore.

NAC says it may take at least three to four months to starts flights to Sri Lanka, which would be a new destination for NAC.

“Sri Lanka as a new destination and will help augment the flag carrier’s presence,” Sharma, the NAC corporate director, said.

NepalNOW.org WEBSITE IN OPERATION

NTB and a group of tourism entrepreneurs, with support of CBI — a Netherlands-based organization — have launched a public campaign for visiting Nepal through the NepalNOW.org website. The site provides current status information about Nepal.

The NepalNOW movement has received much appreciation from tourism entrepreneurs around the globe and has already created a buzz in the social media, people from the tourism sector say.

NAC resumes flights to Mumbai

Nepal Airlines Corporation (NAC) began scheduled flights to Mumbai on Friday.

According to a NAC statement, its Airbus 320 made fly to Mumbai from Kathmandu on Friday, carrying 52 passengers on board. The flag carrier will fly twice a week to Mumbai — on Mondays and Fridays, according to the statement. NAC has set the one-way fare for Kathmandu-Mumbai flights at Rs 11,109, while two-way fare for the service has been fixed at Rs 22,049.Meanwhile, NAC has also announced to an offer of a free ticket with the purchase of every two two-way tickets on its Kathmandu-Mumbai flights.NAC started flying to Mumbai after a gap of 11 years. The aim of the resumption of flights to the film city is to attract religious tourists, industrialists and tourists.

Source: myrepublica

India okays scheme for govt staff to travel to Nepal

Fulfilling a commitment made by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi during the SAARC summit held in Kathmandu in November, the Indian government has approved a proposal to allow more than two million government employees to travel to Nepal, Bhutan, Maldives and Sri Lanka on Leave Travel Concession scheme.

The development comes as a major boost for Nepal which was recently devastated by three major earthquakes and more than 300 aftershocks. Consequent to the natural disaster tourist arrivals in the Himalayan nation plummeted to almost zero levels causing much panic in the tourism sector which is a major contributor to the country’s GDP. Most of the hotels in Nepal have since reported largescale cancellations of bookings made by tourists, especially the pilgrimage tourists from India.

The Indian government’s decision in effect will encourage middle class Indians to travel to Nepal either on pilgrimages to Hindu and Buddhism sites or for recreational and adventure purposes. “The government decided to fast track the proposal following the earthquake in Nepal so as to boost tourism in that country which is still reeling under the impact of the earthquake,” sources at the civil aviation ministry told The Himalayan Times here.

Under the provisions of the LTC, all the government employees can travel to any destination of their choice after due process and the cost of travel would be borne by the government. Hitherto the LTC facility was only available for travel within India. The move was aimed at boosting tourism within SAARC countries. However, Indian government employees cannot use the LTC to travel to Pakistan and Bangladesh, as these two neighbouring countries have been left out for now owing to security issues.
The ministry of civil aviation endorsed the proposal so that the LTC can be availed for the time being the on national carrier Air India while flying to these countries. The private airlines flying into Nepal are likely to lobby for a chunk of the pie in this newly created segment by arguing that Air India does not have the bandwidth to meet the likely surge in traffic to Nepal.

There are around two million government employees. With the extension of the LTC scheme there is bound to be greater movement of Indians to the four countries. Considering the close people to people ties between India and Nepal, they are likely to prefer to travel to Nepal using the facility.

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Source: thehimalayantimes

1st Indo-Nepal motor rally to kick off next week

The first-ever Indo-Nepal Motor Rally from Odisha to the Nepalese capital will kickstart next week, linking key Buddhist cities in the two countries to boost “spiritual” and “adventure” tourism.

nature-adventure-culture

The rally will begin on February 27 and will conclude in Delhi on March 8, Indian Ambassador to Nepal Ranjit Rae told mediapersons here. The rally – aimed at promoting nature, culture and adventure tourism – would be instrumental in strengthening people-to-people contact between the two countries, said Rae. The rally will link Jagannath, Puri and Pashupatinath as well as sister cities Bodhgaya and Lumbini, highlighting age-old cultural and civilisational links between Nepal and India, he pointed out.

The rally will see participation of around 110 people in 30 cars which will cover a total distance of 2,500 km in 10 days. 25 vehicles from India and five vehicles from Nepal will take part in the rally. “The event also aims to give tremendous impetus to tourism, both spiritual and adventure tourism in both the countries. “This venture also attaches great importance to the Buddhist trail, linking Bodhgaya, where Lord Buddha attained enlightenment with Lumbini in Nepal, where Lord Buddha was born,” remarked Rae.

The rally will open up new avenues of tourism in both the countries by encouraging young travellers of the two countries to each other’s territories through the land route, he pointed out. The Nepal-India Motor Vehicle Agreement signed during Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Nepal during the 18th SAARC Summit has helped promote tourism between the two countries through land route, Rae said.

Three Nepalese motor drivers today embarked towards Puri to take part in the rally.The motor rally will enter Nepal at Jogbani customs point at Biratnagar on March 2 and will halt at the picturesque town of Dharan before embarking to Dhulikhel, another scenic town situated in the east of Kathmandu famous for its mountain views.

The rally will reach here on March 4, marking the end of its first leg. On March 5, the second leg of the motor rally will be flagged off by Rae and Nepal’s Minister for Youth and Sports Purushottam Paudel. It will then pass through the beautiful cities of Pokhara, Lumbini and Dhangadhi before reaching Delhi on March 8.

The rally is being jointly organised by Kalinga Motor Sports Club, Bhubaneswar and Nepal Automobile Sports Association with support from the Indian Embassy here and the Nepal government.

Source: News Nation

Individuals can carry Rs 500, Rs 1000 notes to Nepal & Bhutan: RBI

The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) today announced that an individual travelling to neighbouring countries like Nepal and Bhutan can carry Indian currency notes in denominations of Rs 500 and Rs  1,000.

100INR

“An individual can now carry to Nepal and Bhutan Indian currency notes in denominations of Rs 500 and Rs 1,000, subject to a limit of Rs 25,000,” RBI said in a statement.

Earlier, individuals were allowed to carry Indian currency without any limit in denomination of only up to Rs 100.

This has been relaxed to mitigate the hardship faced by individuals travelling to Nepal and Bhutan from India, it  added.

The RBI has suitably amended the  Foreign Exchange Management (Export and Import of Currency) Regulations, 2000 to incorporate the relaxation.

Source: dayandnightnews

Nepal, India to jointly promote tourism

Nepal and India will soon begin joint tourism promotion campaign.

Speaking at the 51st anniversary of Nepal Association of Tour and Travel Agents (NATTA), Indian Ambassador to Nepal Ranjit Rae said that there is a need of mutual cooperation as Nepal and India are jointly promoting tourism.

“As Nepal is a famous religious tourism destination for it has Pashupatinath, Lumbini, Muktinath and Janakpurdham. It should promote these destinations to attract tourists,” said Rae, adding, “Nepal should focus on religious and adventure tourism and it is through this it can bring in quality tourists”.

NATTA-AGM

Prachanda Man Shrestha, former CEO of Nepal Tourism Board (NTB) said there is a need of the campaign to promote regional markets. “Nepal needs to move forward giving priority to neighboring countries India and China first to promote tourism and increase tourist arrivals,” said Shrestha.

At the program, NATTA demanded a certain percent from the tourism service fee (TSF) for strengthening the association. “As it the tour operators who bring in tourists, we should get certain percent from the TSF collected by NTB,” said DB Limbu, president of NATTA.

NATTA currently has around 500 members associated with it. It cancels the membership of companies that does not renew its membership for more than a year. Earlier, it used to cancel membership of companies that did not renew membership every six months.

Source: Republica

Bhaktapur sees tourist numbers rise 12.6pc

The tourist hub of Bhaktapur received 290,891 visitors last fiscal year, up 12.6 percent year-on-year. Officials said neighboring India and China accounted for the majority of the visitors. Tourist Information Center Bhaktapur statistics show 32,647 more tourists visited the city last year compared to the previous year.

Bhaktapur

Bhaktapur is listed as the World Heritage Site by UNESCO for its rich culture, temples, and wood, metal and stone artworks. It is also one of the most clean and beautiful cities in the country and is a popular destination among foreigners. Indian visitors toped the arrival charts. The stats show Indian visitors accounted for 23 percent (64,375) of the total tourists, followed by Chinese 21.51 percent (58,859).

Damodar Suwal, tourist information officer at the centre, said Bhaktapur is devising a plan to allure more tourists by offering world class hospitality, rich heritage and clean environment. “Unlike Kathmandu and Lalitpur, tourists do not have to face sound and noise pollution here and we are committed to keep this city the cleanest,” he said.bhaktapur-temple

Cultural experts and historians say the flow of tourists is increasing as the city has been able to keep the century old chain of culture preserved. They say most of the tourists go to Bhaktapur to see the open museum, deep-rooted Newari culture and to observe and study Bhaktapur as Nepal’s Kingdom during the second half of the 15th century, ruled by the Malla Kings, said Om Dhaubhadhel, a cultural expert.

“There are events throughout the year, most of them Newari cultural events,” he said. “Besides, youths are also involved in preserving the local culture.”

Although Indians top the arrivals, officials say Germans spend the longer time. “Our record shows Germans are interested in the Newari language. Most of them were also working in the health, education and other sectors as volunteers,” said Suwal. The centre, a subordinate body of the Bhaktapur Municipality, charges Rs 500 to Chinese and those from Saarc states as entry fee, while for non-Saarc visitors the fee is $15 per person.

The municipality collected Rs 206. 06 million in revenue last fiscal year, up from Rs 163.78 million in the previous fiscal.

Source: ekantipur