Weekly Official e-Newsletter of Nepal Tourism Board
(Printable version)
February 03, 2012
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Robust growth continues
Nepal Promotion in Toronto, Canada
Visit Lumbini Year Program in Paris
Bullfighting thriving in Himalayas
RAK Airways to operate flight to Kathmandu
Tourist Information Center opens in Hetauda.

Robust growth continues

International tourist arrivals to Nepal are on track to reach new milestone in 2012. The figures released by Immigration Office, Tribhuvan International Airport (TIA) reveal that the tourist arrivals reached 42,031 with 27.7% of robust growth in January this year compared to the same month last year.

All regions have shown positive growths in the first month of 2012. India which constitutes the major market of Nepal, has recorded positive growth of 29.2%. In the SAARC region, arrivals from Bangladesh and Sri Lanka have registered positive growth by 34.4% and 112.5% respectively. However, the arrivals from Pakistan declined by 29.6%. In aggregate, the South Asian segment has registered a positive growth of 27.7%.

Arrivals from Asia (other than South Asia) have also recorded positive growth of 42% in aggregate with all markets showing improved performance except Malaysia. The visitor's arrivals from China have increased significantly by 107%. Similarly, the arrivals from Japan, Singapore, Thailand and South Korea have also increased by 6.4%, 5.2%, 8.4%, and 7.9% respectively. Malaysia registered negative growth of 13.5% in January 2012 compared to the same month in 2011.

An overall positive growth of 22.8% has been observed from the European markets with arrivals from major generating markets such as the UK, Germany, France and Switzerland up by 4.7%, 27.9%, 88.1% and 132.4% respectively. However, the arrivals from Austria, the Netherlands and Sweden have declined by 3.8%, 9.7% and 59.9% respectively compared to the same month last year.

Tourist arrivals from Australia, Canada and USA have also registered growths of 8.6%, 27.8%, and 7.7% respectively. A negative growth of 12.2% was recorded from the New Zealand in January 2012 compared to January 2011.

Nepal has enjoyed a continuous positive growth in the international visitor arrivals since June 2009 and the trend continues in year 2012 too. These figures reflect rising confidence amidst international visitors and tour operators .

A total of 52,617 foreign tourists departed from TIA in January 2012. The number of Nepalese arrivals stood at 82,897 while 67,194 Nepalese departed from TIA in January 2012.

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Nepal Promotion in Toronto, Canada

Nepal participated in Toronto's Ultimate Travel Show in Toronto, Canada from 28-29 January 2012. The show was organized by Toronto Star, a daily newspaper publication house in Metro Toronto Convention Centre. The show was supported by an aggressive marketing initiative, under Metroland Media Group Ltd., a significant advertising campaign in other key media including print, radio, television and numerous electronic media initiatives. It is the second time that Nepal made its participation in Canadian Travel show. Along with Nepal there were 100 plus Exhibitors mainly from South America, Caribbean and Asia. The show was attended by officials of Embassy of Nepal in Ottawa, Canada and Nepal Tourism Board.

About 25000 visitors including tour operators, travel agencies, travel media and ordinary consumers visited the show. Visit Lumbini Year 2012" campaign was launched during the show. A significant number of visitors had visited Nepal stall and made queries about Nepal's attractions. Visitors were found mainly interested in adventure activities, cultural & spiritual tourism and home stay activities. Those visitors who had already visited Nepal had shared their views and experiences. Major TV channels City TV, Omni had interviewed Mr. Hikmat Singh Ayer, Director, Nepal Tourism Board about Nepal 's Visit Lumbini Year 2012 and overall tourism attractions.

There was a significant increment in tourist arrival in 2011 due to year long national tourism campaign 'Nepal Tourism Year 2011'. About 735,932 tourist visited Nepal. Canadian arrival has a share of 1.8% with 10,060 number of tourists arrived by air. Being air connectivity a major hindrance to bring significant number of tourists to Nepal from long haul destination, active consumer marketing strategy is needed in North American market. Major chunk of the outbound tourists from North America visit South East Asian destinations like China, Thailand, Japan. Proper networking with Nepalese community is needed to utilize them in tourism promotion activities. Sales mission should be organized once a year in the major cities of Canada in order to educate and update the local tour operators.

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Visit Lumbini Year Program in Paris

To mark the Visit Lumbini Year 2012, the Embassy of Nepal in Paris organized a program on January 27, 2012 evening in Paris. Guests from the French Foreign Ministry, Ambassadors of India, Myanmar, Macedonia, Montenegro, Tanzania and other senior diplomats from the other diplomatic missions, French dignitaries from different walks of life including former Ambassadors to Nepal, Nepalese Honorary Consul/Consul General, Professors, Travel Agencies, Presidents of Nepalese Associations, UNESCO Professionals, and long term Nepali Residents in France attended the program.

At the start of the program, His Excellency Mr. Mohan Krishna Shrestha, Ambassador of Nepal to France alighted a candle in front of Lord Buddhas statue. Delivering his welcome remarks, Ambassador Shrestha informed the guests that the Government of Nepal had decided to observe this year as Visit Lumbini Year and it was inaugurated by none other than Rt. Hon. the President of Nepal.

Giving a brief introduction of Lord Buddha the Apostle of Peace, Ambassador Shrestha said that he was born in 623 B.C. in Lumbini, southern Nepal and he abandoned his royal garb, palace and family in search of Enlightenment. After six years rigorous meditation, Siddhartha attained Enlightenment at the age of 35 years in Bodhgaya under a Pipal tree. Then for another 45 years, Lord Buddha preached his message of peace, love, compassion, non-violence and tolerance. Lord Buddha left for his heavenly abode in Kushinagar at the age of 80 in 543 B.C.

To better human life, Lord Buddha preached to know 4 noble truths like sufferings, their causes, end of suffering and 8 paths to end the sufferings. Eight noble paths included, right view, right thought, right speech, right conduct, right livelihood, right effort, right mindfulness and right concentration. He further said that if we could imbibe and practice these sublime teachings of Lord Buddha, we can achieve happiness in life.

Highlighting conservation and developments works in Lumbini area, Ambassador Shrestha said that the Lumbini will be developed as a city of international peace and harmony. As a contribution to world peace, an International Peace Prize has been established by the Government and same was awarded to two Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki which bore the brunt of nuclear devastation in 1945.

Ambassador Shrestha appealed to the guests to preach and practice the teachings of Lord Buddha and visit Lumbini to achieve peace of mind saying it is the place to visit for every Buddhists and peace loving people.

At last, Ambassador Shrestha gave some introduction of the naturally beautiful Nepal to the guests from Himalayas to culture to the way of the life of the Nepalese people. Guests were shown a CD on Lumbini and Lord Buddhas life. Nepalese dinner was served to the guests.

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Bullfighting thriving in Himalayas

Nepalese people watch bulls fight during Maghesangranti festival in Taraka village, Nuwakot district some 80 kilometers from Kathmandu

A half-tonne bull enters the ring, snorting and rearing, before running at full pelt towards a section of spectators, drawing screams of fear and delight from the frenzied crowd. It could be a scene from any Spanish arena but this is bullfighting Nepal-style, with thousands trekking deep into the Himalayan foothills to watch a centuries-old spectacle whose popularity is growing even as its appeal wanes in Europe. Every year thousands of Nepalis come to see the animals fight at a festival marking Maghe Sankranti, the first day of the tenth month in the nation's calendar when villagers celebrate an end to winter and usher in warmer weather.

Unlike its European cousin, there are no matadors-the beasts take on each other-and buffalo are preferred to traditional bulls, which are sacred in the Hindu-majority country. "Bull fights have been happening all around here for a long time. My grandfather used to say they have been going on for more than 200 years," said Janak Raj Dhungana, chairman of Maghe Sankranti Mela Byabasthapan Samiti, organizer of the the fiesta in the village of Taruka, 80 kilometres (50 miles) north of the capital Kathmandu. "The fights used to happen in different places around Nuwakot district. But six years ago we brought them all together for one big fight here."

Seven pairs of bulls did battle in a ring overlooking the spectacular terraced hillsides, fertile valleys and terracotta tiled roofs of Nuwakot in front of a crowd of 5,000 perched on grass banks and muddy slopes on Sunday. This was not as lucrative as the Spanish circuit, with winning owners receiving prize money of 1,000 rupees ($12) from the village authorities and the losers getting half that. The buffalo are selected when they are calves and trained only to fight at the annual fiesta, being spared the ploughing duties their less tenacious siblings are reared for.

An important difference between European and Nepali bullfighting is the absence of bloodshed in the Himalayan version-bouts only go on until one animal tires and gives up. The bulls-altogether more sedate creatures than the beasts of the Spanish corridas-square up, push and occasionally butt heads but none are killed. The closest the spectators came to seeing blood at this year's festival was when a small section of the crowd fell through a safety barrier as one perky bull escaped its handler and headed into the spectators.

Serious injuries to the animals are rare as owners and handlers step in with bamboo prods to separate sparring bulls if one looks hurt. "We teach the animals how to fight starting from when they are small," said Toya Prasad Dhakal, 48, from Taruka, who has been training bulls for 19 years. "I'm not at all worried about them getting injured. In all the time I've been doing this I've never seen an animal hurt." It is said that Nepali bullfighting is centuries old, though it was only introduced in Taruka in 1900, by Jai Prithvi Bahadur Singh, a monarch of the ancient Bajhang kingdom in what is now western Nepal. Though the independent verification of this fact has not yet been done.

The bullfight has a much longer history in Spain, going back to the 16th century, but interest is falling. In a 2008 survey, only 23 percent of Catalans questioned said they were interested in the tradition. Meanwhile its smaller-scale cousin in Nepal goes from strength to strength. "The crowds are always in their thousands," said Kathmandu-based student Saurav Pradhananga, who was in the crowd on Sunday. They are really popular.

Nepal Tourism Board conducted a media FAM tour to Taruka to witness the Bullfighting lead by its manager Mani Raj Lamichhane. The event was promoted y Nepal Tourism Board, supported by DDC, Nuwakot & FNCCI Nuwakot along with the other local social organizations. (With input from AFP)

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RAK Airways to operate flight to Kathmandu

RAK Airways' expansion is rolling on, with the carrier announcing plans to serve Kathmandu from 15-Feb-2012. Kathmandu will become the carrier's 11th new route added since it re-launched its operations in Oct-2010 after a 12-month suspension of operations.
The carrier will see competition on services between the UAE and Nepal from Flydubai, Air Arabia and Etihad Airways and Nepal Airlines. RAK will face competition from UAE-based carriers that already have well-established operations to Kathmandu. Air Arabia has operated to Kathmandu since Nov-2006, Etihad Airways launched its operations in Oct-2007 and Flydubai debuted in Dec-2009.
UAE-Nepal services

Carrier Weekly frequencies Weekly seats Aircraft Premium seats Economy Seats
Air Arabia 14 4536 A320 - 2268
Flydubai 11 4158 737-800 - 2079
Etihad Airways 7 3668 A330-200 154 1680
Nepal Airlines 6 1140 757-200 96 1044

Source: CAPA – Centre for Aviation & Innovata
RAK Airways is targeting a mix of business and leisure passengers on the route, a move that fits in with Nepal's tourism development strategy. Since 2008, the country has been working under a new tourism plan to developing its attractiveness as a tourism market, aimed at increasing the length of visitor stays and overall visitor spending as well as developing new tourism business opportunities through diversification.

RAK Airways is also aiming at labour travel from Nepal. The Nepalese Embassy estimated in 2010 that there were more than 125,000 Nepali nationals in country, although the majority of them were concentrated in Dubai and Abu Dhabi. RAK International Airport is only 30 minutes travel from Sharjah and 45 minutes from Dubai and the carrier offers free shuttle busses between RAK International Airport and other emirates in the UAE.

The new Kathmandu route is consistent with RAK's new to offer a broad network of routes across the GCC, Indian sub-continent and North Africa.

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Tourist Information Center opens in Hetauda.

>District Development Committee of Makawanpur with the promotional support of Nepal Tourism Board has started the operation of a Tourist Information Center in Hetauda. Local Development Officer of the DDC, Mr. Yubaraj Khatiwada handed over the responsibility of functioning of the center to the local partner Sahid Smarak Bikas Samiti amid a function in Hetauda. Mr. Mani Raj Lamichhane, Manager at Tourism Product and Resource Development Department, NTB reiterated the continuous support of NTB for the long term plan of the center. "Tourist Information Center provides a good platform for information dissemination and can also be extended into a resource center. This is a laudable effort on part of the DDC. This is an example of a beginning of joint partnership among the DDC, NTB and the samiti. Accordingly new plans and programs for the sustainability of the center should be put forward in the future", Lamichhane highlighted on the occasion.

The center is located in a two storied building made with the financial contribution of 1.8 million rupees of the DDC. It is equipped with a LCD television and a DVD player worth 95,500 Nrs, also contributed by the DDC, to showcase the audio visual highlights of the district. Presently Center employs one staff and provides required information about the tourist products of the district.

Makawanpur district stands as a very promising tourism destination with its diverse natural landscapes, its strategic location near Kathmandu Valley and with growing awareness of its local populace toward tourism enterprises.

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Sarad Pradhan     Asst. Editor: Sudhan Subedi

Media Center | Nepal Tourism Board

Tourist Service Center, P.O Box: 11018
Bhrikuti Mandap, Kathmandu, Nepal
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