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

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

NTB announces 2073 as Ghumphir Barsa

Nepal Tourism Board (NTB) on Monday announced Bikram Sambat 2073 as Ghumphir Barsa, which means travel year, in a bid to promote domestic tourism. The initiative is part of the governments preparations to organize International Tourism Year 2017-18.

A minister-level decision had approved the proclamation of Ghumphir Barsa last Friday.

Living Goddess Kumari in Kathmandu

Living Goddess Kumari in Kathmandu Durbar Square

Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli will make a special announcement of the programme, the first of its kind, on April 24 to commemorate the first anniversary of the April 25 earthquake.

As our domestic tourism requires promotion, we have decided to conduct a wide promotional campaign to encourage domestic sightseers to travel in Nepal, said Deepak Raj Joshi, CEO of the NTB. The programme is part of the preparations to declare 2017-18 as International Tourism Year.

The NTB has allocated a budget of Rs2 million to carry out promotional activities to make the programme a success.

The board will encourage the private sector to create special packages targeting Nepali travellers. NTB will help the private sector to promote the tour packages, said Joshi.

Boudhanath Stupa

Boudhanath Stupa (Buddhist Pilgrimage)

Likewise, the tourism promotional body has suggested to the government to allocate a separate budget for travel leave concessions for government employees in the next fiscal year. Besides, the NTB has also planned to encourage the corporate sector to provide travel leave holidays.

As per the plan, a booklet will be published describing the tour packages developed by travel and tour operators, the board said. In a bid to promote new destinations, travellers will be offered schemes and incentives, said Joshi.

We are not aware of our geography as we have not travelled in Nepal, said Ambica Shrestha, senior tourism entrepreneur and president of Dwarikas Hotel. visit Nepal and let the country move ahead. I believe this programme will encourage Nepalis to explore their country and promote tourism, said Shrestha.

Trekking in Nepal

Trekking in Nepal

There are no statistics regarding domestic tourism in Nepal, but travel trade entrepreneurs said that the trend was on the rise owing to young travellers and adventure lovers who are exploring new ways of recreation.

They said that places like Pokhara, Chitwan, Muktinath and the Annapurna Circuit, among others, have been receiving a large number of domestic visitors due to a growing middle class.

Source: The Kathmandu Post

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.

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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.

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Source: www.tribuneindia.com

Govt survey finds major glacial lakes safe

News reports about glacial lakes developing serious cracks and heightened possibility of glacial lake outburst flooding (GLOF) in the aftermath of the April 25 earthquake made big headlines. Consequently, the government deployed monitoring teams to the mountains. However, a recent survey of the affected Himalayan region has dismissed any possibility of GLOF. The survey conducted by a team of experts deployed by the Department of Hydrology and Meteorology (DHM), boldly proclaims that the glacial lakes are out of danger.

Glacier-Lake

The report was made public during a press meet held at the Ministry of Environment, Science and Technology (MoSTE) on June 21. Making a presentation on the report, Director General of DHM, Rishi Ram Sharma said the recent quakes have caused no serious damage to the glacial lakes.

“After being alarmed of the situation, we paid field visits to the respective districts and found no serious damage. For now, there is no danger of GLOF. Some of the issues were raised unnecessarily and sensitized,” said Sharma.

Concerns over the condition of two critically vulnerable glacial lakes — Tsho Rolpa in Dolkha and Imja in Solukhambu — had grown after rumors that the rivers in the area had swollen due to GLOF. The situation had turned more serious after news reports about discovery of deep and wide cracks near Tsho-Rolpa lake made headlines.

Monitoring of the two vulnerable glacial lakes were done on June 13, 15 and 16 simultaneously by a three-member team led by Sharma. Sharma however, said the series of strong jolts have caused a few minor cracks in the lakes.

“Imja lake is fine. We found no trace of damage in the region. However, some minor cracks were found near Tsho Rolpa glacial lake but they are not serious,” said Sharma.

The cracks were found on a pile of debris near one of the DHM stations near the edge of the lake. Sharma explained that the cracks are on a shallow portion near the lake and they pose no threat.

“Next to Tsho Rolpa lies a small hill and a small landslide has left its trace on it. As per our assessment, they do not pose any immediate threat of GLOF,” said Sharma.

On June 10, fear of a GLOF had scared the locals when the water level in the Dudhkoshi River rose 48 meters within an hour. GLOF was the first guess as it had not rained on that day. However, after an investigation, it was found that the water was from one of the many glacial lakes above Hongu VDC.

“It was not GLOF but overflow of water from glacial ponds formed at Hongu VDC,” said Chief of Flood Forecasting Division at DHM, Rajendra Sharma.

This is not the first time that overflowing of glacial ponds have been mistaken for GLOF. In one recent incident, on March 25 when supra glacial lake overflowed near Everest Base Camp, it had caused panic in the area.

According to Rijan Bhakta Kayasta, senior geologist and assistant professor at Kathmandu University, there are many glacial ponds in the mountains and near the glacial lakes and there is an instant need to study them.

“Glacial ponds are formed from the debris and melting of glaciers but our research studied only the major glaciers and glacial lakes. In order to understand such recent puzzling phenomena, there is an instant need to turn our focus on these small glacial ponds as well,” said Kayasta.

As per the report of the International Center for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD), there are 2,323 glacial lakes across the Himalayan region in Nepal. Out of them, 21 have been categorized as critically vulnerable.

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Source: REPUBLICA

Tourism fraternity welcomes plan to organize Visit Nepal Year

Tourism entrepreneurs have welcomed the idea to celebrate Visit Nepal Year (VNY) campaign in 2017 or 2018, assuming that reconstruction and rebuilding works will be completed by then.

It its Post Disaster Needs Assessment (PDNA) report, National Planning Commission (NPC) has suggested organizing VNY campaign in 2017 and 2018 to rebuild and rebrand Nepal’s tourism image.

Tourism entrepreneurs say the campaign would be effective in promoting Nepali tourism brand in international arena and help bring more tourists. They, however, are for implementing the campaign under public private partnership (PPP) model, saying that the government alone cannot re-brand and promote Nepal in the international market.

Kathmandu-durbar-square

PDNA report states that significant efforts and resources as well as proper coordination among key stakeholders would be necessary to ensure that foreign tourists perceive Nepal as a safe destination so that the campaign can be successful.

Bijay Amatya, CEO of Kora Tours, said extensive preparations should be done so that VNY can actually help to bring not just the regular but additional tourists. “We need to focus on promoting new destinations like Dolpa, Rara, Jumla and Ilam, and organizing more international events like Indra Matta, Mani Rimdu and Everest Marathon, among others,” said Amatya.

The report estimates the decline in revenue from entry fees at cultural monuments in Kathmandu Valley will be worth Rs 600 million (US$ 6 million) over the next 12 months. However, tourism entrepreneurs say the loss can be recovered by promoting tourism as a new tourism product as people from all over the world might be interested to come and see how survivors recover and how Nepal rebuilds its cultural heritages and monuments.

“As foreigners have always praised Nepali hospitality, they might love to come and see how Nepalis come out of rubbles and focus on reconstruction,” Raj Gyawali, a tourism entrepreneur, said. “We should focus on people and recovery. The contrast of vibrant modern society with traditional values and heritage should be promoted as foreigners love and value it as they do not have it in their country.”

Among others, tourism entrepreneurs suggest to the government to promote new destinations, provide special packages for tourists, and marketing creatively with new approach for tourism recovery.

Ramesh Kumar Adhikari, chief administrator of Nepal Tourism Board (NTB), said celebrating 2017 or 2018 as VNY could help a lot in tourism recovery. “We can make VNY a grand success if we work in proper coordination and make necessary preparations,” he said. He also added that NTB was planning to organize an international expo in Nepal as per the Pokhara Declaration 2015.

Tourism entrepreneurs, however, say the country should be able spread positive message throughout the world and make people feel that Nepal is safe to visit before making any announcement regarding VNY.

Andrew Jones, vice chairman of PATA, said Nepal needs to tell the world that the situation here is not that worse as seen in international media. “Before arriving Nepal, I was expecting to see whole lot of devastation as shown in different media. But when I arrived here, I was surprised to see that most of the areas in Nepal are still intact and are untouched by the quake,” Jones told Republica in a recent interview. He also suggested the government and tourism entrepreneurs to promote attractions, facilities and areas of heritage and culture, and natural beauty, that have not been affected by the earthquake.

Ramesh Prasad Dhamala, president of Trekking Agencies Association of Nepal (TAAN), said that government should focus on reducing aviation turbine fuel, landing and parking charges at Tribhuwan International Airport so that the air fare will be reduced automatically which will definitely help bring in more tourists. “The national flag carrier, Nepal Airlines Corporation should be strengthened, so that it can fly to different destinations in the world offering cheap fares. This will help us attract more tourists,” he added.

The recovery strategy for tourism in PDNA has four distinct phases — identifying and assessing unaffected and safe tourist destinations, creating a ‘safe trekking system’ for mountain tourism in Nepal, rebuilding and redeveloping damaged areas, and identifying and developing new tourist products and services.

If these things can be focused sequentially, Nepal will be ready to host more tourists very soon.

“Nepal Tourism Year (NTY) 2011 campaign helped us to bring 300,000 additional tourists. If campaigns like VNY can be launched with a strong message, it is not difficult to bring more tourists here,” Yogendra Shakya, national coordinator of NTY, said.

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Source: Republica