Nepal Tourism News

NRB to issue NTY 2011 coins

Nepal Rastra Bank (NRB) is issuing special commemorative coins for Nepal Tourism Year (NTY) 2011 campaign. The central bank will issue two coins of Rs 1,000 and Rs 50 denominations once its proposal is approved by the Safaris in Africa African Spice Safaris is a Tour Operator offering Safaris to Kenya, Safaris in Uganda

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TAAN delegation meets Tourism minister

A delegation of Trekking Agencies' Association of Nepal (TAAN) led by first vice president Bachhu Narayan Shrestha paid a courtesy call on newly appointed Minister for Tourism and Civil Aviation Khadga Bahadur Bishwakarma.

The delegation congratulated Minister Bishwakarma for assuming the office at the Ministry of Tourism and Civil Aviation and apprised him of the problems that Nepali tourism industry, especially the trekking sector, has been facing. Some of the issues raised by the delegation were mismanagement at Tribhuvan International Airport, especially the domestic terminal, restrictions on Upper Mustang and Manaslu, among others.

Shrestha also informed the Minister about different activities being carried out by TAAN for identification and promotion of new trekking areas. The delegation also solicited positive support and cooperation from the government in its programs and activities.

Second Vice President Mahendra Singh Thapa, Secretary Nima Dorjee Sherpa, Executive Member Ramesh Dhamala and Machhindra Acharya of TAAN Media Center were also in the delegation.

Four Nepali women to attempt Annapurna IV
Four Nepali women are planning to summit Mt Annapurna IV (7,525) this spring.The Nepali Women Annapurna Expedition 2001 will try to put Nirma Rai of Solukhumbu, Muna Gurung of Manang, Saraswati BK of Kaski and Shantikala Rai of Solukhumbu to the summit of Mt Annapurna IV.

The expedition is jointly organized by Trekking Agencies' Association of Nepal (TAAN) Pokhara Chapter, Nepal Mountaineering Association (NMA) Annapurna Chapter and Pokhara-based Empowerment of Women Nepal (EWN).

At a press meet organized at TAAN Secretariat in Kathmandu on March 14, the women mountaineers said they were all prepared for the summit.

"All of us have been working as a trekking guide for the past many years. We've also taken rock climbing and ice climbing training at both home and abroad. We are all prepared for the summit," said Nirma Rai.
The expedition will begin from Manang in the second week of April and the women expect to reach the summit within 30 or 40 days.

"This expedition is not just a step ahead in empowerment of Nepalese women. It will also be crucial to increase the number of women trekkers and mountaineers to the Annapurna Region," said Dr Ganesh Gurung, former member of National Planning Commission and the coordinator of the expedition.

Tendi Sherpa, a mountaineering instructor and an accomplished mountaineer, will be the guide of the expedition.

The total budget of the expedition is estimated at around Rs 5.6 million. The expedition is supported by a number of national and international associations and leaders of different political parties.

Call to declare Bhotekoshi River a protected area,

Tourism entrepreneurs have demanded the government to develop Bhotekoshi River a protected area and promote it as a destination for water-based tourism activities. Bhotekoshi is regarded as one of the best destinations for water excursions.

Speaking at an interaction on ´Importance of Bhotekoshi River in the Development of Tourism´ organized recently in Sindhupalchowk district, they expressed concerns over construction of dams, haphazard sand excavations and pollution, and demanded that the government declare Bhotekoshi River a protected area.

Mahendra Singh Thapa, vice-president of Trekking Agencies' Association of Nepal (TAAN), said the river was fast getting polluted due to open sewage and uncontrolled sand mining at different places along the river. "Rafting and kayaking activities in the river will be affected if the river is polluted and distorted," he added.

Nanikaji Thapa, president of the Nepal Association of Rafting Agents (NARA), Bhotekoshi River holds immense prospects for rafting and kayaking activities."We have to develop Bhotekoshi as a hub for water adventure with joint efforts from the government and private sector during the Nepal Tourism Year 2011," Thapa added.

Similarly, Megh Ale, president of Bhotekoshi Protection Campaign and a water tourism entrepreneur, stressed on the need to develop Bhotekoshi as a tourist destination as it can attract a lot of visitors, creating income opportunities for locals.

AOAN asks govt to review airfare,

Airline Operators Association of Nepal (AOAN) has requested the government to increase fare on different air routes. Issuing a press statement on Jan 31, the association of private carriers in the country drew the attention of the concerned government authority to review airfare at the earliest.

Ministry of Tourism and Civil Aviation (MoTCA) reviews airfare every two years taking into consideration components like fuel cost and maintenance cost among others.

“Airline operators are facing financial burden as the airfare hasn´t been review for the last five years,” the statement added.

MoTCA had formed a taskforce to review airfare in the first week of November. It was asked to submit report within two months.

"The taskforce formed about 3 months ago has yet to submit its report to the government,” AOAN source said, adding, “Except for the fuel surcharge, there has been no increment in airfare in the last five years.” He further informed that fuel cost, cost of maintenance, insurance, landing and parking fees and lease tax have gone up remarkably during the period.

The government allows airlines to increase surcharge only if the price of aviation fuel increases by at least Rs 4 per liter.

Nepal to host PATA Adventure Travel Mart 2011,

Nepal is hosting the Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA) Adventure Travel Mart and Responsible Tourism Conference 2011. Nepal was selected host for the event as the country is celebrating the year 2011 as Nepal Tourism Year.

The four-day event will be organized at Fulbari Resort & Spa in Pokhara from Feb 7.

The event is expected to bring together people involved in adventure travel and responsible tourism and create new opportunities for promoting environmental protection and social sustainability within the industry, PATA said in a statement.

"Located in the western region, in the lap of the magnificent 6993 m high Mt Machhapuchhre and with Lake Fewa serenely shining right in the middle of the city, Pokhara attracts thousands of tourists every year. The seven big and small lakes in the vicinity also give the name Lake City to Pokhara and serves to make it one of the most idyllic tourist destinations in Nepal," PATA has described Pokhara in the statement.

Nepal had also hosted PATA Adventure Travel Mart and Responsible Tourism Conference 2010.

China Southern doubles Nepal flights

China Southern Airlines has doubled its flights to and from Kathmandu amid increasing demands for air seats. The airline will now fly six times a week. The airline has added three more flights per week from Jan 23. The airline will now fly on Guangzhou-Kathmandu-Guangzhou route every day except on Tuesdays.

The increase in flight frequency is expected to bring more tourists to the country as a wide range of domestic network and also international network in countries like South Korea, Japan, Australia and various European nations.

Airline sources said rising demand for air tickets and Nepal Tourism Year 2011 campaign encouraged them to raise flight frequency.

Another Chinese carrier – China Eastern – resumed its Nepal flights a couple of weeks ago. The airline links Kathmandu with Chinese city of Kunming.

Air Arabia claims $1m compensation from govt

Air Arabia has sought $1million as compensation from the government to recoup loss that it incurred due to cancellation of its Kathmandu-Malaysia flights at the eleventh hour.

The government had allowed Air Arabia to enjoy fifth-freedom rights and operate flight on Kathmandu-Malaysia route. However, it directed the airline to postpone its flights due to mounting pressure from all quarters.

The UAE-based budget carrier sent a letter to Minister for Tourism and Civil Aviation through its general sales agent (GSA) City Express International Travels on Jan 24, demanding $1 million in compensation.

The International Relations and Human Rights Committee of the parliament and Nepal Airlines Corporation had protested the decision to provide fifth freedom rights to the airline.

Mountain film festival from Dec 9

Himal Association is organizing the 8th Kathmandu International Mountain Film Festival (KIMFF) in Kathmandu from December 9-13. A total of 62 films from 35 countries covering a wide array of issues, including conflict, culture, climbing, wildlife, environment, globalization, gender, development and lifestyle, will be screened at the City Hall and the Nepal Tourism Board, according to the association. Twenty films will be screened in the international competition category, 36 in the international non-competitive category, and six films in Nepal Panorama category.

The top three films in the international competitive category will receive cash awards of $1,500, $1,000 and $500 respectively. A three-member jury comprising British climber and author Terry Gifford, Chinese filmmaker Li Wenming and British climber David Durkan
will judge the best films.

The event will also feature other programs including a photo exhibition "Manang: 30 Years After" by Czech photographers Michal Thoma and Zdenek Thoma and slide presentation/lecture, film-making workshop, animation workshop and alternative book exhibition, among others.

Elephant Polo championship begins in Meghauli

The 29th Elephant Polo Chamionship 2010 kicked off at the Meghauli ground in Chitwan district on November 29. A total eight teams are particpating in the annual event.

The event was organised in Bardiya National Park last year after the government directed hotels and restaurants to vacate national parks due to widlife security problem.

The championship is organised every year by Tiger Tops Jungle Lodge and Weold Elephant Polo Association.

Participating teams this year are National Park Team Nepal, Tiger Tops, Tusker Iceland, Pokka Chukka, British Gurkhas and teams from Scotland, UAE and Afghanistan are participating in the event.

The final will be played on December 5, according to the organisers.

Buddha Air to begin Lucknow flights from Jan

Buddha Air is starting its flight to Indian city of Lucknow from January 7. It will be the airline's second international destination after Paro, Bhutan.

The airline will fly Lucknow three times a week on Sundays, Wednesdays and Friday with 47-seater ATR-42 aircraft. But the airline will use 72-seater ATR aircraft depending on the demand. It has fixed Rs 5,600 (excluding tax) as the one way fare.

Buddha Air is also planning to introduce flights to other Indian cities like Guwahati, Kolkata, Patna, Varansi, Gorakhpur and Deharadun in the near future.

The revised Air Service Agreement (ASA) with INdia allows private carriers of both the countries to start cross-border flights to make air travel cheaper.

TAAN AGM on Sept 29

Trekking Agencies’ Association of Nepal (TAAN) is holding its 32nd Annual general meeting (AGM) in Kathmandu.

AGM holds discussions on burning issues in the trekking industry and endorse the annual progress report of general secretary and annual financial report of treasurer. TAAN – the umbrella organizations of over 750 trekking agencies in the country – has been working to create environment conducive for trekking industry for the last three decades.

Miss Nepal appointed brand ambassador for NTY 2011

Nepal Tourism Year 2011 National Coordination Committee has appointed Miss Nepal Sadichha Shrestha as the brand ambassador for Nepal Tourism Year 2011 campaign.

The 19-year-old lass from Kathmandu was crowned Miss Nepal 2010 on September 1. She will represent Nepal in Miss World 2010 pageant to be held in Sanya in December. She has also been appointed conservation ambassador of World Wildlife Fund (WWF) Nepal.

Shrestha will help promote Nepal and NTY 2011 campaign in international forums that she will participate, according to Nepal Tourism Board (NTB).

Spicejet starting Nepal flights from October

India’s budget carrier Spicejet is starting flights on New Delhi-Kathmandu route from October 7. Kathmandu will be Spicejet’s first international destination.

Zenith Travels, the general sales agents of Spicejet in Nepal, informed that Spicejet would be the first Indian budget carrier to spread its wings to the international sky. The airline is likely to fix Kathmandu-New Delhi airfare at IRs 1,499. It further informed that the airline will fly six times a week on the route.
Spicejet is also flying to Colombo of Sri Lanka from October 9. It will use Boeing 737-800 aircraft for the international flights. A few months ago, Spicejet placed order for 30 Boeing aircraft to increase
its fleet size to 58 aircraft.

Meanwhile, national flag carrier Nepal Airlines Corporation is planning to restart flight on Kathmandu-New Delhi route after September 15. NAC has halted New Delhi flights after its aircraft was grounded due to its faulty gear last month.

Oman Air begins Nepal flights

Oman Air, the national flag carrier of Sultanate of Oman, started scheduled flights on Muscat-Kathmandu route from 2 September. Kathmandu is Oman Air’s 40th destination. The new flight is expected to bring more tourists from the Gulf countries along with expansion of trade and investment in Nepal.

The airline with operate Boeing 737-700 aircraft with business and economy class seat configuration. Apart from flight to Omani capital Muscat, the airline will offer easy connections to other destinations like Abu Dhabi, Al Ain and Dubai in the UAE and other destinations in West Asia and Europe, according to Amarabati Travels – the GSA of Oman Air.

The airline currently operates direct flights between Muscat and major Gulf destinations like Abu Dhabi, Bahrain, Doha, Dubai, Jeddah, Riyadh and Kuwait. It has been flying to 10 destinations in India.

Arrivals up 24 pc in August

Tourist arrivals to Nepal via air in the month of August have increased by 24.3 percent compared to the arrival figures of same period last year.

According to the Immigration Office at Tribhuvan International Airport, a total of 34,415 tourists arrived in Nepal in August.

The arrivals from South Asian region have gained overall positive growth of 34.9 percent with Bangladesh (51.6 percent), India (35.1 percent) and Sri Lanka (57 percent), registering positive growth.

Visitor arrivals from Pakistan, however, declined by 20.2 percent. “The robust growth of 20 percent has been observed in the arrivals from South Asian region during the first eight months this year in comparison with the same period last year,” Nepal Tourism Board (NTB) said in a statement.

The arrivals from Asian countries (other than South Asian region) have maintained the upward trend with the region recording double digit growth of 27.7 percent. The arrivals from China registered a
substantial growth of 68.3 percent.

Similarly, arrivals from Malaysia increased by 85.7 percent and South Korea by 28.6 percent. However, Japan, Singapore and Thailand have declined by 5.3 percent, 32.9 percent and 9.7 percent, respectively.
Markets in Europe registered overall positive growth of 18.9 percent with the arrivals from Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, Russia, Switzerland, Spain, Sweden and the UK increasing by 2.6 percent, 22.3
percent, 18.1 percent, 41 percent, 101.3 percent, 106.6 percent, 15 percent, 71 percent and 15.5 percent, respectively.

The figures also show increasing trend in the visitor arrivals from Australia and New Zealand with a growth of 16.8 percent and 28.1 percent. The arrivals from the US have registered positive growth of
16.8 percent while Canada posted negative growth of 17.8 percent.

TAAN Pokhara gets new panel

Trekking Agencies' Association of Nepal (TAAN) Pokhara Chapter on August 1 unanimously elected a new executive body under the leadership of Som Bahadur Thapa of Trek & Climb.

Hira Bahadur KC of Sisne Rover Trekking, Bhoj Kumar Shrestha of Down in Nepal, Narayan Prasad Sapkota of Ridge Trail, Ram Chandra Sharma of Blue Planet and Dambar Adhikari of Line Up Trekking have been elected as 1st vice president, 2nd vice president, secretary, treasurer and joint secretary respectively.

The annual general meeting held at Kailash Mountain Resort elected Pasang G Sherpa of Himalaya Journeys, Dharmendra Kumar Bataju of Hillsway Trekking, Dharma Thapa of Harmony Trek, Hari Bhujel of Peace Eye Trek, Biswho Raj Adhikari of Amrit Trekking and Dikki Adhikari of 3 Sisters Trekking as members in the executive committee.

The new team will perform responsibilities for a period of two years.