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Weekly Official e-Newsletter of Nepal Tourism Board

In this Issue :

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Nepal promoted in Mumbai and Goa
TAAN International Eco-Challenge on August 17
Exploration and Mapping of Timal and Mahabharat Range
Archaeological items possibly connected to Mahabharat times found in Baitadi
6th UNWTO International Meeting on Silk Road Tourism shows the value of cultural routes

Nepal promoted in Mumbai and Goa

Nepal Tourism Board participated in the promotional tour of western Indian cities organized by Nepal Association of Tour and Travel Agents (NATTA) Regional Association, Pokhara. India commands a healthy share in terms of generating tourist movements to Nepal. Today, with almost 40 flights per week to Kathmandu, air connectivity with India has shown a significant improvement. Based on these indicators, NATTA Regional Association, Pokhara, in cooperation with Nepal Tourism Board, organized this week-long promotional tour focusing on Mumbai and Goa from  1-8 August 2013.

Whereas Nepal Tourism Board was represented by Mr. Udaya Bhattarai, Sr. Asst. Manager, the delegation comprised of heads, members and representatives of Pokhara-based travel and tourism associations. The Mumbai leg of the program on August 2 was well attended by the local trade community and media altogether 200. The B2B session provided the delegation members an ideal platform to forge new business alliances and renew the existing ones. Likewise, Nepals tourism products, services and facilitation issues were highlighted through the Naturally Nepal Presentation.

The Goa leg of the program on August 5 was attended by around 65 from local tourism fraternity and media combined. Predominantly and inbound market, the Goan travel trade gave an enthusiastic response to the concept of mutual movements of tourists for value addition.

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TAAN International Eco-Challenge on August 17

Twenty-one teams, including a foreign team, are participating in the 1st TAAN International Eco-Challenge 2013 being held in Kathmandu on August 17.

The Eco-Challenge is a team event comprising three sporting events – running cycling and rafting. Each team has five participants including a team manager who will not participate in the sporting events. All four participants will first run on the 6.5-kilometer track from Tokha to Pani Muhan and cycle on the 14.5-kilometer track in the Shivapuri-Nagarjun National Park. After completing cycling at Sundarijal, the participants will raft on 7.5-kilometer segment of Bagmati River until Gokarna – the finishing point of the event. However, teams can start rafting only after all members of the group complete cycling.

The winning team will receive a shield, gold medals, certificates and cash prize of Rs 100,000. Similarly, the first runner-up will receive silver medals, certificates and cash prize of Rs 75,000, while the second runner-up will receive bronze medals, certificates and a purse of Rs 50,000.

A Fishtail Air helicopter will do aerial photography of the event.

Australian Ambassador to Nepal His Excellency Glenn White and Member Secretary of National Sports Council (NSC) Yubaraj Lama are scheduled to inaugurate the event. Similarly, Minister for Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation Ram Kumar Shrestha will grace the closing ceremony as the Chief Guest.

“Trekking Agencies’ Association of Nepal (TAAN) aims to develop the event as an international standard sporting event in the country,” Mohan Lamsal, general secretary of TAAN, said. “As a part of our ‘Nepal for All Seasons’ campaign, we also plan to promote the event as a tourism product for the off season.”

Saroj Neupane, coordinator of the event, said he was encouraged by the response for the event. “Initially, we had expected 10 groups. Now we have 21 groups, including a foreign team. We hope the number of teams will increase further next year,” he added.

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Exploration and Mapping of Timal and Mahabharat Range

A 15-member team of Trekking Agencies’ Association of Nepal (TAAN) is embarking on a two-week exploration and mapping trip to Kavre and Sindhuli districts on August 19.

The team will explore trekking trails in and around Timal village of Kavre and Mahabharat Range lying on the border of Kavre and Sindhuli districts.

TAAN’s second vice president Ambar Tamang and executive member Janak Pandey are leading the team. The team will include tourism entrepreneurs hailing from Kavre, local stakeholders, photographer, videographer, cartographer and report writer.

Speaking at a press meet at TAAN Secretariat on Thursday, Tamang said TAAN will suggest two trekking trails – The Great Buddhist Master’s Trail and Mahabharat Rhododendron Trail. “We will prepare a guidebook or a detailed itinerary of the trek. We will also produce map and documentary to promote the trails in national and international arena,” he added.

The Great Buddhist Master's Trail begins from Panauti and can be concluded in five days. It passes through Namobuddha, Kot Timal and Narayansthan before concluding at Lubhughat.

Similarly, the exploration for Mahabharat Rhododendron Trail begins from Sindhuligadhi and passes through different sections of the Mahabharat Range before concluded at Khopasi.

“There are two caves in Timal where Padmasambhava is believed to have meditated in the 8th century. We plan to develop the area as a pilgrimage destination for Buddhists,” Pandey said.

Karna Lama, former secretary of TAAN, said the area holds great prospect for agro tourism, religious tourism, adventure tourism, village tourism, and shaman tours. “There are many places in the area where canyoning is possible. Also it will be an important tourism product in the mid-hills,” Lama added.

TAAN believes the trails will be popular among domestic as well as foreign tourists because of their proximity to the capital city.

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Archaeological items possibly connected to Mahabharat times found in Baitadi

Archaeological items which are believed to be thousands of years old have been found in Dewalhat, located in the south of Baitadi district headquarters, state-owned news agency RSS reports.

Dozens of utensils of metals like gold, silver, copper, iron, and bronze and earthenware were found while renovating a Dewal (temple) built in ancient times.

Various items of various shapes and sizes, three large swords, idols and some rice (paddy) in some utensils have been found in Dewalhat, which is linked with the history of the Puranic stories of the Pandavas and Kauravas in the battle of Mahabharata some 5,000 years ago.

After the objects were found in second floor of one of the seven temples in Dewalhat, they are kept safely by creating an affidavit at the presence of District Administration Office, a local Ishwori Dutta Bhatta told RSS.

According to Puranic legends, the Pandavas stayed there for one night during the war, and built seven temples in one night, said Bhatta.

“I had heard from my forefathers that it was a sacred site when Pandavas lived for one night, and I now believe that they were right from the large swords and various utensils found here,” he said.

They were found while renovating the temples in cooperation with the Department of Archeology as they were in dilapidated conditions.

Another local Mahadev Bhatta said they were found mysteriously in dozens. As they were found inside the Dewals built by Pandavas, we suppose that the items inside them might be of the same period, said Bhatta.

Locals say that history of 5,000 years can be traced if the Archeological Department researches on the items. As there is rice in the objects, strange truths can be discovered if the rice in it is studied, they say.

The items have been put in exhibition by organizing a Maha Shivapuran Mahayagya by the local Shiva Shankar Youth Club after the archeological items were found.

Devotees from various places are now thronging to see the objects. The club organized the Mahayagya wishing for world peace and to publicize the items. The number of pilgrims from various places to Dewalhat are increasing, said another local Ganesh Bhandari.

There are six full size and one incomplete Dewal, at Dewalhat, one km south of Shahilek Bazaar of Baitadi. Legend has it that they built them during night and left for their destination after dawn broke while building the seventh.

Hindu devotees believe that their wishes are fulfilled after worship in Dewalhat, a sacred site. A large fair takes place in great Gaura and Shivaratri festivals in the far west.

In the dilapidated Dewals, the Department of Archeology has started renovation of one each year for the past three years. The archecoalgical items were found now in the middle part of one of the Dewals while renovation.

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6th UNWTO International Meeting on Silk Road Tourism shows the value of cultural routes

The 6th UNWTO International Meeting on Silk Road Tourism highlighted the increasing interest in developing cultural routes associated with the Silk Road and succeeded to raise the profile of tourism along this emblematic route. The event was jointly organized by UNWTO, the China National Tourism Administration (CNTA) and the People’s Government of Gansu Province (1-3 August 2013, Dunhuang, China).

Topics discussed ranged from heritage management, investment, travel facilitation and product development, with aims to establish the Silk Road as one of the world´s most outstanding travel routes.

As the largest Silk Road event to ever take place in China, the Meeting marked the opening of the 3rd Dunhuang Silk Road International Tourism Festival, which showcased cultural festivals and events. The province of Gansu, in China´s northwest region, has prioritized tourism as a key pillar for economic growth. For centuries, the province was the vital corridor between China and Central Asia and comprised about 1,600 kilometers of the Silk Road.

UNWTO Secretary-General, Taleb Rifai, acknowledged the strength and commitment of the People’s Government of Gansu Province for hosting the Meeting in the wake of the 6.6 magnitude earthquake that hit Dingxi in Gansu´s southeast region ten days before. “In welcoming the international tourism community to Dunhuang at such a difficult time, Gansu has impressed the delegates not only with its outstanding tourism offer but with its courage and dedication to supporting the sector,” he said.

The Meeting showcased China´s diverse range of Silk Road destinations while highlighting the growing importance of the Chinese outbound market, expected to reach 94 million by the end of 2013. Tourism is playing an increasing role in China´s ongoing economic development, with double-digit growth of domestic tourism and the China Tourism Law set to be enacted on 1 October. “Our continued policy aimed at encouraging Chinese nationals to travel is designed to contribute to the healthy development of the sector and softening the social and economic concerns in other parts of the world,” said Shao Qiwei, Chairman of the China National Tourism Administration.

During the Meeting, the Chinese Chamber of Tourism, along with eight of the country´s most influential tourism corporations, signed the private sector’s commitment to the UNWTO Global Code of Ethics, by which companies pledge to implement the ethical provisions of the Code in their policies, plans and business operations.

With a record level of presence from Asia and the Pacific destinations, the Meeting was attended by over 250 delegates from 25 countries across the Silk Road. A special official welcome was given to new Silk Road Member States, Indonesia and San Marino. Also present were representatives from major institutions and UN agencies including the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), the World Bank, the Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA), the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN), the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), the International Council on Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS) and the Council of Europe.

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Upcoming Events

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Venue:  All over Nepal
Date:     August 21, 2013
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Date:   August 22, 2013


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Editor: Sarad Pradhan
Asst. Editor: Sudhan Subedi
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Nepal Tourism Board (NTB) has sought to ensure that the contents of this newsletter are accurate at the time of transmission. NTB does not accept responsibility for any damage, loss, injury or inconvenience arising in connection with the contents of this newsletter. Nepal Tourism Board wishes to thank all stakeholders for their wonderful support and assistance for promoting Nepal as a happening destination. We request all tourism industry stakeholders to send us news and articles at mediacenter@ntb.org.np , ssubedi@ntb.org.np or ntbmediacenter@gmail.com to include them in the weekly E-newsletters.