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Weekly Official e-Newsletter of Nepal Tourism Board

In this Issue :

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Makalu Air expands fleet
Aircraft shortage affecting tourist flow to Manang, Mustang
CAAN proposes five-star airport hotel at Sinamangal
China - the new number one tourism source market in the world

Makalu Air expands fleet

Makalu Air, a privately operated domestic airlines, has procured one more aircraft to strengthen its service capacity.

With the arrival of a new single-engine aircraft, the number of aircraft in the airline´s fleet has reached three. The Cessna Grand Caravan 208B model aircraft made in the US landed at Tribhuwan International Airport, Kathmandu on Sunday. Makalu Air operates single fleet of Cessna Grand Caravan 208B. "We will enhance our cargo service at consessional rates in remote areas," Pawan Kumar Thapa, operations manager of Makalu Air, said. Based in Nepalgunj, the airline has been operating service to Humla, Mugu, Jumla, Dolpa and Bajura districts.

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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.

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CAAN proposes five-star airport hotel at Sinamangal

The Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal ( CAAN ) has submitted a proposal to the government for constructing a five-star airport hotel under the built-own-operate-transfer (BOOT) modality on its land plot in Sinamangal, Kathmandu.

CAAN officials said the move is intended to make commercial use of its 116-ropany land plot which has been underutilised despite being located in the city’s prime area. They said it is objectively aimed at facilitating tourism and offering accommodation to travellers landing at and departing from Tribhuvan International Airport (TIA).

The land plot currently houses the CAAN ’s TIA Improvement Project Office, and an Armed Police Force (APF) unit. 

The proposal was forwarded to the Finance Ministry some six months ago, but senior Tourism Ministry officials say the Finance Ministry has not responded to the proposal yet. The officials said the concept to build an airport hotel under the public private partnership model can create more value for Nepal’s fast-growing tourism industry and it could be a big source of revenue for the government. “Besides, there is also a need for an international standard airport hotel.”

Finance ministry officials said the CAAN ’s proposal is still under-consideration.

The Tourism and Home Ministries and the CAAN have agreed to relocate the APF unit to Nalinchowk if the government approves the project, said a CAAN official. “If okayed by the Finance Ministry, the proposal will be sent to the Cabinet for final approval,” said Ranjan Krishna Aryal, joint-secretary at the Tourism Ministry.

CAAN officials said as soon as the government approves the plan, they would issue a letter of intent (LoI) for prospective developers. With domestic and inter-regional tourism aiding to hotel demand, a range of leading global hotel chains have planned their entry into Nepal.

Non-resident Nepali Shesh Ghale is building a five-star hotel in Kathmandu. The property will be known as the Sheraton Kathmandu Hotel. Ghale’s MIT Group Holding Nepal recently signed an agreement with Starwood Hotels and Resort Worldwide Inc and set the project rolling. Slated to open in February 2018, the 225-room Sheraton Kathmandu Hotel will be managed by Starwood Hotels & Resorts.

Also, Nepal Hospitality Group (NHG) signed a management agreement with a subsidiary of Marriott International to open a four-star property named Fairfield by Marriott Kathmandu. The international brand Marriott will look after the management of the Fairfield by Marriott Kathmandu. The NHG is a group company of the MS Group, one of Nepal’s leading business conglomerates. At present, there are 10 five-star hotels in Nepal—eight in Kathmandu and two in Pokhara. The average annual occupancy rate of these five star properties stands at around 65 percent. These properties produce 641,670 room nights annually. Nepal welcomed 803,092 visitors last year, of which, 204,834 came Nepal through surface transportation.

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China - the new number one tourism source market in the world

China’s expenditure on travel abroad reached US$ 102 billion in 2012, making it the first tourism source market in the world in terms of spending. Other emerging markets as well as most traditional tourism source markets also showed positive results in 2012.

Over the past decade China has been, and still is, by far the fastest-growing tourism source market in the world. Thanks to rapid urbanization, rising disposable incomes and relaxation of restrictions on foreign travel, the volume of international trips by Chinese travellers has grown from 10 million in 2000 to 83 million in 2012. Expenditure by Chinese tourists abroad has also increased almost eightfold since 2000. Boosted by an appreciating Chinese currency, Chinese travellers spent a record US$ 102 billion in international tourism in 2012, a 40% jump from 2011 when it amounted to US$ 73 billion.

With this sustained growth, China has become the largest spender in international tourism globally in 2012. In 2005 China ranked seventh in international tourism expenditure, and has since successively overtaken Italy, Japan, France and the United Kingdom. With the 2012 surge, China leaped to first place, surpassing both top spender Germany and second largest spender United States (both close to US$ 84 billion in 2012).

Some of the other emerging markets have also increased their share of world tourism spending over the past decade. Among the world’s top ten source markets by expenditure, the Russian Federation saw an increase of 32% in 2012, to US$ 43 billion, bringing it from the 7th to 5th place in the ranking of international tourism spending. Worth mentioning beyond the top ten is Brazil, with an expenditure of US$ 22 billion in 2012, moving to 12th place up from 29th place in 2005.

“Emerging economies continue to lead growth in tourism demand” said UNWTO Secretary-General, Taleb Rifai. “The impressive growth of tourism expenditure from China and Russia reflects the entry into the tourism market of a growing middle class from these countries, which will surely continue to change the map of world tourism,” he added.

Although the highest growth rates in expenditure abroad came from emerging economies, key traditional source markets, usually growing at a slower pace, also posted positive results. Spending on travel abroad from Germany and the USA grew by 6% each. Spending from the UK (US$ 52 billion) grew by 4% and the country retained its 4thplace in the list of major source markets. Expenditure by Canada grew by 7%, while both Australia and Japan grew by 3%. On the other hand, France (-6%) and Italy (-1%) were the only markets in the top ten to record a decline in international tourism spending.

Full data on international tourism expenditure and receipts will be published in the forthcoming issue of the UNWTO World Tourism Barometer, to be released end of April.

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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.