Weekly Official e-Newsletter of Nepal Tourism Board
(Printable version)
February 17, 2012
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Nepal participates SATTE
Kakshapati, HAN's new President
Buddha Air to fly to Varanasi from March
Nepal crocodile farm aims to save endangered species

Nepal participates SATTE

Nepal's participation in the 19th edition of SATTE event concluded on February 12, 2012 at Pragati Maidan, New Delhi, India. India's leading travel and tourism event, SATTE, has been instrumental in promoting tourism in the region. Started from February 10, SATTE has grown, both in terms of exhibitors and visitors including buyers, and is important networking forum for the travel & tourism industry in South Asia. Nepal's participation this year in the event has been able to give the positive message to potential tour operators from India and beyond.

Nepal stall with an area of 36 sq. Meters designed in the backdrop of Pashupatinath and Kumari has been appreciated by the visitors. Tour operators visiting Nepal stall were keen on knowing Nepal's connectivity from different Indian metros and satellite cities.

Promotional materials published by Nepal Tourism Board (NTB) were distributed in the exhibition. Most of the tour operators enquired on new tourism products besides already established ones in the Indian market. They especially were interested in promoting soft adventure for Indian tourists.

Participating Nepali travel companies are Samrat Tours and Travels, Global Asia Tours and Travels, Buddha Air, Explore Himalaya Travel and Adventure, Fishtail Tours and Travels Pvt. Ltd. Pokhara Tourism Council has made special presence in the exhibition. Nepal Tourism Boad was represented by Mr. Lila Bahadur Baniya, Manager and Mr. Sudhan Subedi, Officer.

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Kakshapati, HAN's new President

Hotel Association Nepal (HAN) elected a new executive committee under Shyam Sundar Lal Kakshapati for a two-year term. Kakshapati on February 10, who was general secretary in the outgoing executive committee, is the owner of Riverside Spring Resort, Kurintar.

The 41st annual general meeting (AGM) of the association had elected 18 members in executive committee earlier in the day. The committee then selected president and other office-bearers.

The new executive committee has B K Shrestha as 1st vice-president, Binod Shanker Shrestha as 2nd vice-president, Amar Man Shakya as general secretary and Abhishek Shrestha as treasurer. Other members in the committee are Prabin Bahadur Pandey, Srijana Rana, Dinesh Bista, Biplab Paudel, Dinesh Tuladhar, Chhiten Norkel, Ghanendra Shrestha, Bishal Kumar, Rajan Shrestha, Shreedhar Acharya, Rakesh Das Shrestha and others.

Newly elected President Kakshapati nominated Ghanashyam Shrestha in the executive committee right after his election to the post. He will nominate two more members in the executive committee later.

HAN is the apex body of 286 hotels across the country.
Inaugurating the AGM earlier in the day, Prime Minister Dr Baburam Bhattarai said the government was positive about listing tourism as a national priority industry.

"The government will provide additional facilities to the hoteliers," he assured. Bhattarai also asked tourism entrepreneurs to focus on programs that would help lengthen tourists´ stay in Nepal.

"Tourist arrival is increasing at a healthy rate. We will now focus on increasing tourists´ length of stay, identifying new destinations and promoting Nepal in international arena," he said, asking entrepreneurs to focus on equitable sharing of profit for sustainable peace and prosperity of the country.

Delivering his keynote speech on 'Tourism Development for Investment and Employment', Radhesh Pant, president of Nepal Investment Board, stressed the need for new activities to increased tourists´ per capita expenditure and length of stay.

Presenting the statistics of 2011, Pant said direct contribution of tourism to GDP was 3.2 percent (Rs 59.4 billion) and total contribution is estimated at 6.7 percent of GDP.

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Buddha Air to fly to Varanasi from March

Buddha Air -- one of the leading domestic carriers -- is operating scheduled flights to Varanasi of India from March 1, 2012.

The airlines will operate four flights a week -- on Sundays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays -- between Kathmandu and Varanasi. The one way fare for the route has been fixed at Rs 5,031.

"There exists a huge potential for pilgrimage tourism between Kathmandu and Varanasi," Buddha Air said in a statement on Sunday, adding that the flight would be useful for students and business travelers.

The one-hour flight to Varanasi will leave Tribhuwan International Airport (TIA) at 3 pm.

Buddha Air spread its wings in international skies in Aug, 2010 with flights to Paro of Bhutan. The airline launched its second international destination -- Lucknow of India -- a year ago.

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Nepal crocodile farm aims to save endangered species

As Prem Sharma steps gingerly into the sand-filled chamber, lines of baby crocodiles basking in the warm sunshine splash into a pond, eyes glinting behind their long, thin snouts.

Sharma quietly puts his hand into the green water, takes a young reptile from the pool, opens its mouth with a brush and begins to clean its teeth with potash, its thrashing 60 cm (2 ft) body held under his knee.

The activity, repeated every three or four days, is just one example of the tender care lavished on Gharial crocodiles at a farm southwest of the Nepali capital of Kathmandu, an effort to save the critically endangered species from extinction.

"It has got fungus in its teeth because it feeds on fish," said Sharma, 45, a senior keeper at the Crocodile Breeding Centre at Kasara, who looked older than his age and had a scar on one knee from a crocodile bite four years ago.

"This must be cleaned properly, otherwise the baby will fall sick or even die."
The farm in Chitwan National Park, some 82 km (51 miles) southwest of Kathmandu, was opened in 1978 by the government with support from the Frankfurt Zoological Society in an effort to save the rapidly dwindling gharial, which is also found in neighboring India.

Six decades ago, gharials -- known for their long, slim snouts and great length, with some growing up to 7 meters (23 ft) long -- were numerous in Nepal. There were 235 in the Narayani-Rapti River, which flows near the park, alone.

But their numbers fell rapidly as they were killed for their skins, used to make purses, shoes and belts. Their eggs have been stolen for food or as a remedy for tuberculosis.

In addition, their riverside habitat has been lost to agriculture and water-control projects, with fishing nets also taking a toll.

As a result, their population is now confined to only a small area of Nepal's major rivers. A national census last year found only 102, numbers at which survival in the wild becomes difficult without help -- but that was still up from 50 in 1970, Sharma said.

The centre has three male and 12 female gharials for breeding. Workers also collect eggs from the wild before the onset of the annual floods in July, raise hatchlings in captivity and then release them into the wild.

"If it were not for this, you and I would not be able to see them now. They would have been extinct 15 to 20 years ago," Sharma said.

Young gharials are released into the wild when they are six years-old, two meters (six feet) long and are able to hunt for themselves for the fish that sustain them. One adult can eat up to six kg (13 lbs) of fish a day.

Authorities in Kasara have released 60 young crocodiles into the river over the past two months.
The neighboring national park is the home to other rare animals as well, including the Indian one-horned rhinoceros and the Bengal tiger, which is endangered. Thousands of tourists visit the park each year.

But the crocodile farm, surrounded by forests, is also a major lure for visitors, both Nepali and foreign.

Swedish tourist Lars Bjorking, who had seen crocodiles in Mexico and Everglades National Park in Florida, was nonetheless amazed by his sight of the gharials.

"This is very interesting," said Bjorking.
Sharma, who has been a keeper at the farm for the past 20 years -- work that helped him raise two sons of his own -- said he developed a sort of family bond with the crocodiles.

"I love them more than my children. I become very sad and feel like crying when they die," he added. ( News Courtesy: Reuters)

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Sarad Pradhan     Asst. Editor: Sudhan Subedi

Media Center | Nepal Tourism Board

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