Weekly Official e-Newsletter of Nepal Tourism Board
(Printable version)
June 21, 2013
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Interaction on managing problems in trekking tourism held
GHTDP, Tara Air agree to promote tourist spots
Two manuscripts from Nepal now in UNESCO's prestigious Memory of the World Register
Aircraft shortage affecting tourist flow to Manang, Mustang
3rd Nepal-Africa Film Festival concluded
Key trends and developments in Travel & Tourism

Interaction on managing problems in trekking tourism held

Trekking Agencies’ Association of Nepal (TAAN) organized an interaction on ‘Managing Problems in Trekking Tourism’ in Kathmandu on June 14.

The interaction was organized to collect feedback from trekking entrepreneurs on different rules, regulations and guidelines related to trekking tourism.

In the beginning of the program, TAAN CEO Gangasagar Pant made a presentation on various problems being faced by trekking entrepreneurs. He also suggested the government some measures that it should take to address these problems. “The government should end illegal operation of trekking business. It should also address issues like social security of workers to make tourism business sustainable,” he added.

Similarly, Bodhraj Bhandari of Snowy Horizon Treks asked TAAN and the government to make TIMS fund more transparent. He also asked the government to implement TIMS as per the one-door system through TAAN.

Rishi Nepal of EncountersNepal.com asked the government and the TAAN to take joint initiative in closing websites that are illegally operating trekking business.

Likewise, Tilak Lama of Himaland Adventure asked government and TAAN to explore alternatives routes near popular trekking trails which are being shortened with the advent of road network.

Commenting on the rising incidence of disappearance of trekkers in different trekking routes, Mindas Tamang of Amazing Authentic Treks requested the government to take the issue seriously. “Incidents like this will harm our destination image,” he added.

Chandra Rijal of See-Nepal Travel and Adventure asked the government and TAAN to utilize amount collected in TIMS Fund in meaningful works.

Rajan Simkhada of Earthbound Expeditions asked the government to review VAT rates imposed on tourism services. “The government should also review mountaineering permit fee and take initiative in developing trained manpower for the trekking and adventure sector,” he said. He also asked trekking entrepreneurs to stop promoting Nepal as a cheap destination.

Responding to demands raised by the private sector, Purna Chandra Bhattarai, joint secretary at the Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation, said the MoCTCA has formed a taskforce to review royalty fee of different mountains in the country. Among others, the taskforce will suggest to the government to open more peaks for mountaineering and review permit fee to different restricted areas, he added. “Works on improving service delivery of Nepal Tourism Board (NTB) is also underway,” said Bhattarai.

Bhattarai also said the tourism ministry has sought technical assistance from UNWTO to prepare strategic plans to achieve targets set in Tourism Vision 20-20 document.

Speaking at the program, TAAN President Mahendra Singh Thapa said Nepal is becoming an expensive destination due to imposition of different taxes. “The government should fix benchmark price. It will help illegal competition in trekking business,” he added.

TAAN General Secretary Mohan Lamsal also spoke on the occasion.

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GHTDP, Tara Air agree to promote tourist spots

The Great Himalaya Trail Development Programme (GHTDP) and Tara Air have signed an agreement to promote tourism destinations in Nepal.

As per the pact signed on Monday, the airline will include information about GHT on all its boarding passes besides putting flyers, posters and route maps in the seat pockets of its and Yeti Airlines’ aircraft.

The GHTDP aims to help channel tourists and pro-poor tourism investments to under-developed districts, spreading tourism benefits more widely and inclusively among impoverished mountain communities.

The effort has been supported by SNV Nepal and funded by the UK Department for International Development DFID/UKAid,This initiative will expand GHT’s visibility among a large number of domestic and international tourists who fly with Tara Air and Yeti Airlines, the airline said. The joint effort will also help strengthen existing business es in remote hill and mountain districts.

“We believe that tourism plays a significant role in the rural economy. The initiative will also be one of the numerous corporate social responsibility programmes that our group is doing to help society in every little way we can,” said Umesh Chandra Rai, general manager of Tara Air. “We want to help the people of virgin trekking sectors by bringing in tourists which will generate employment and income.” 

Meanwhile, GHTDP team leader Mim Hamal said that the GHT was a remarkable adventure product, and that the partnership would help improve the overall tourism industry by attracting tourists to places off the beaten track, thereby benefiting local communities.

During the programme, Tourism Minister Ram Kumar Shrestha said the whole idea of joining hands with the GHT was to promote other destinations which are equally beautiful and enthralling to help develop the country’s tourism industry.

The GHT is one of the longest and highest trekking trails in the world. The 1,700-km route connects popular treks in the Annapurna and Everest regions with exciting new trekking destinations from Taplejung in the east to Humla and Darchula in the west.

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Two manuscripts from Nepal now in UNESCO's prestigious Memory of the World Register

Two Nepali manuscripts of world significance are now in UNESCO’s Memory of the World Register.

The Niśvāsattatvasa_hitā, the earliest surviving tantric manuscript, and the Susrutasamhita, the oldest document in the field of Ayurveda medicine, have been added yesterday to the prestigious list recognizing documentary heritage of outstanding value. They are the first inscriptions from Nepal in the Register, UNESCO Kathmandu Office said in a press release on Wednesday.

“I congratulate Nepal for the inscriptions of the two manuscripts in the Memory of the World Register. I am confident that their inclusion in the Register contributes to creating greater awareness of the need to preserve Nepal’s memory held in the country’s archives and libraries”, said Axel Plathe, UNESCO representative to Nepal.

The Niśvāsattatvasa_hitā Manuscript, which is deposited at the National Archives, is said to be the earliest surviving tantric manuscript and as such it is important source for the early history of tantrism. It has had a great influence in shaping other tantric texts. Tantrism has had impact on many major Asian religions and even influenced Islam practiced in India. The Western World has been influenced by tantras through the practice of yoga, which has its roots in tantrism (Bjonnes) as well as through the New Age groups in America.

The 1134 year old palm leaf manuscript of the Susrutasamhita (Sahottartantra), held by the Keshar Library in Kathmandu, is considered as the oldest document in the field of Ayurveda medicine, a systematic and formal tradition of healing that became South Asia's principal medical system and has profoundly influenced all cultures surrounding South Asia including Tibet, Central Asia, China, South-East Asia and the Middle East. The manuscript focuses especially on surgery and discusses various kinds of diseases related to heart, skin, gynecology, etc. It also describes various methods and use of herbs in curing diseases.

The two manuscripts from Nepal are among 54 new additions to the Memory of the World Register, approved yesterday by UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova. Among the others are The Life and Works of Ernesto Che Guevara: from the original manuscripts of his adolescence and youth to the campaign Diary in Bolivia, presented by Bolovia and Cuba; the Pages of Testimony Collection, Yad Vashem Jerusalem, 1954-2004, presented by Israel; and Maha Lawkamarazein or Kuthodaw Inscription Shrines, presented by Myanmar.

The Memory of the World Register now includes a total of 299 documents and document collections from the five continents, safeguarded on various supports from stone to celluloid and parchment to sound recordings.

UNESCO established the Memory of the World Programme in 1992. Impetus came originally from a growing awareness of the parlous state of preservation of,and access to, documentary heritage in many parts of the world.

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Aircraft shortage affecting tourist flow to Manang, Mustang

Shortage of aircraft is affecting movement of tourists to and from trans-Himalayan districts of Manang and Mustang.

At present, only two carriers - Nepal Airlines (NA) and Tara Air - operate scheduled flights from Pokhara to Jomsom of Mustang. While only NA flies to Manang.

Both Manang and Mustang are popular tourist destinations. Tourism entrepreneurs say many visitors interested to travel to these districts are canceling their travel plans due to shortage of aircraft.

“We are facing severe problems as only two companies are operating on Pokhara-Jomson route. Mainly India tourists heading to Muktinath temple of Mustang are affected the most,” Basanta Gauchan, local tourism entrepreneur, said.

Crowd of Indian tourists swells during April-June, putting pressure on local travel agencies.

“Some tourists take difficult land route to reach Muktinath after they fail to get air seats,” said Gauchan.

According to tourism entrepreneurs, only around one-third of tourists visiting Mustang get air seats. The remaining tourists enter the district via land route.

In peak tourist season, over two dozen flights are operated on Pokhara-Jomsom route every day.

Cancellation of flights owing to shortage of aircraft often leaves tourists infuriated. “We spent about three days in Pokhara waiting for our turn to fly to Jomsom. Ultimately, we were forced to take land route,” Ranjan Kumar Srivastav, an Indian tourist, told Republica.

Worsening weather conditions further aggrieve the situation as people don´t know when bad weather cancels flights.

“Flights to Manang and Mustang are possible only in the mornings. Even if the weather is good, we don´t have sufficient aircraft,” Surya Bahadur Khatri, air traffic controller at Jomsom Airport, said.
(News courtesy: The Republica)

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3rd Nepal-Africa Film Festival concluded

A three-day Nepal-Africa Film Festival concluded here on June 2o.

Some 14 films from Nepal and African continent were screened in the festival organized at Russian Cultural Centre in Kamalpokhari, Kathmandu.

The event was organized with a view to further improving the existing relations between Nepal and Africa as well as promoting tourism, art and literature.

Among the Nepali films screened on the occasion were Subas Gajurel-directed 'Yasari Nai Aru Phulchha', Sushma Joshi-directed 'Burma Mero Manma' and 'The Kavre' directed by Saman Adhikari, said Festival Director Dr Manju Mishra.

The screened movies have vividly depicted the mythological history, struggle of indigenous nationalities against governments for the attainment of their rights and racial discrimination against negro from the whites.

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Key trends and developments in Travel & Tourism

World Travel and Tourism Council’s (WTTC) annual economic impact research update, released in March 2013, predicted  a relatively positive outlook for Travel & Tourism GDP growth in 2013, despite a continuing challenging economic backdrop. Since the annual update release, new data has been published.

Most relevant has been Q1 GDP data, revised GDP forecasts for the whole year, and UNWTO arrivals and receipts data for the first 2-3 months of the year. In addition monthly air passenger and hotel data is available, but again just for the initial months of the year.Economic growth in Q1 has varied from on-going recession in the eurozone and slowing growth in China, to continued robust growth in the US and stronger than expected growth in Japan as a result of monetary stimulus. Overall world

GDP is now forecast to grow slightly weaker in 2013 at 2.2%, with growth downgrades largest for China, India, Latin America and Italy, and only Japan’s outlook revised up. YTD world visitor arrival growth is in line with expectations at the start of the year, albeit based on only two months of data. Other Travel & Tourism indicators show steady growth,again broadly in line with expectation from the annual update research.
Next month, as we reach the mid-point of the year, we will consider in more detail what impact this and a further month’s data are likely to have on the world and regional Travel & Tourism outlook for 2013.
We will also explore receipts performance and analyse whether arrivals performance conceals any downward pressure on average visitor spending, which would be consistent with the hotel ADR trends.Eurozone: GDP forecast for 2013 remains the same as last month, with the economy expected to flat line with 0% growth. Industrial output has been a key drag on growth and is expected to fall by 1.5% over the entire year.

This is partly a symptom of underlying weak consumer demand within the region, and weaknesses in some key export markets. Retail sales experienced a year-on-year decline of 2.2% in March, reaching their lowest levels since the onset of the recession.The eurozone unemployment rate hit an all-time high in 2013 Q1 of 12%. Continuing high unemployment threatens to squeeze the level of disposable income further.

USA: The 2013 GDP forecast for the US economy remains largely unchanged at 2.1% this month. Stronger increases in retail sales have been balanced out by weaker industrial output. Excluding sales at gasoline stations, retail sales grew by 0.7% in April, indicating that some strength in first quarter consumer spending has carried over into the start of Q2. Retail sales experienced a boost due in part to lower consumer prices, which fell for the second straight month in April, declining by 0.4%.There was more good news for the labour market as unemployment once again dropped in April to 7.5% - the lowest rate since December 2008.

UK: GDP forecast for 2013 has been revised up modestly to 0.9% from 0.7% last month. A stronger than expected Q1 2013 GDP growth outturn means the UK narrowly avoided a triple-dip recession, and has set the economy on a better path for the coming year. This slow but sustained recovery has benefited from a strong services sector, which contributed the majority of growth in Q1. Overall, the outlook remains upbeat with the latest Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) for services rising to its highest level in 8 months.For Travel & Tourism, the expected weakening of Sterling from $1.46 at the beginning of the year to around $1.60 by the year end, should help boost competitiveness.

Middle East: GDP growth forecast for 2013 in the Middle East remains unchanged at 3.5%. However, risks remain to future growth in the form of further civil unrest and the expectation that oil prices will decline in the next few months.

Africa: Africa’s 2013 GDP forecast remains unchanged. However, tensions in Algeria, Mali and Kenya remain a threat and may impact on longer-term tourism Arrivals

Asia Pacific: Despite weaker than expected GDP growth in China, Japan’s economy continues to perform well as its expansionary monetary policy takes effect.  China’s growth forecast for 2013 has been revised down to 7.5% from 8.2% last month, as rebalancing the economy to encourage consumption has made it more sensitive to movements in consumer expenditure. Nominal retail sales cooled to 12.4% in 2013 Q1 compared to 14.5% the previous quarter.

Despite this, house prices have experienced a significant pick up and should this continue, it will play a role in boosting consumer spending.

Japan has continued its expansionary monetary policy and aim of getting rid of deflation and weakening the value of its currency to boost export competitiveness.
The yen has weakened to 100 ¥ per US dollar from 78 ¥ since the expansionary monetary policy first started being discussed last October. The Japanese stock market too has seen significant gains with the Nikkei 225 increasing by over 65% compared to May last year. However, the strategy still entails some amount of risk should the government not persist with the policy if early results fail to continue, or inflation could rise too sharply.

However, given the early successes of the policy, we expect Japanese GDP for 2013 to grow by 1.2%, compared to only 1.0% last month, and 0.5% at the time of the annual update research.

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Rice Planting Promotional Event

Venue: Dhulikhel
Date: June 23, 2013
Contact detail: Arun Shrestha
Phone Number: 4433151

Ropai Jatra

Venue: Begnas Lake, Pokhara
Date: June 29, 2013


Sarad Pradhan     Asst. Editor: Sudhan Subedi

Media Center | Nepal Tourism Board

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