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Weekly Official e-Newsletter of Nepal Tourism Board

In this Issue :

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Nepal packages promoted in Russia
Nepal seeks to attract more tourists from Asian nations
Michael Dillon felicitiated
Lalitpur Festival kicks off
Nat'l carrier starts daily flights to Malaysia
National Industrial Exhibition concludes

Nepal packages promoted in Russia

Nepal Tourism Board (NTB) coordinated Nepals participation at Moscow International Travel Tourism Exhibition (MITT), the fifth largest exhibition in the world from March 20-23, 2013, realizing the potential of the market with almost ten thousand Russians visiting Nepal every year.

Russian tour operators were also informed and updated about the current offers and the participation at the Fair gave them the opportunity to meet the Nepalese agencies for business tie-up and contact renewals.

Detailed information of tour packages was provided to the visitors as well as to the buyers at MITT which showcased over 3,000 companies from 120 countries and regions.

NTB along with three travel companies namely Arya Village Travel, Nepal Kamaz Tours and Travels, and Outdoor Expedition was led by Mr. Ranjan K. Aryal Joint Secretary at the Ministry of Culture , Tourism and Civil Aviation. Nepal pavilion had occupied twenty meters square of space and fabricated the stall with prime tourism attraction appealing to the Russian market. Nepali Ambassador to Russia, H.E. Dr. Ravi Mohan Sapkota Kopila also visited the Nepal stall and interacted with local agencies to apprise about latest tourism scenario.

Interacting with Russian media and journalists, NTB Official requested them for joint initiatives of promotion and publicity of mutual interests. Televisions like HTB channel, Russia Morning TV, My Planet TV, Channel One Russia and travel magazines were appraised about tourism scenario in Nepal and some of them were invited to come to Nepal to make coverage.

Ever since Nepalese have come to Russia to study medicine and engineers in the 70s , tourism had started opening up with Russian taking interests in climbing, cultural tours, Buddhist philosophy and meditation.

The participation at the Exhibition is bound to increase traffic to Nepal with Kathmandu connected to Moscow via Doha, Sharjah and Delhi with Qatar Airways, Aeroflot and Air Arabia respectively.

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Nepal seeks to attract more tourists from Asian nations

By Anbarasan Ethirajan BBC News, Kathmandu, Napal

Home to eight of the highest mountains in the world, the Himalayan nation has been a paradise for adventure seekers offering them ultimate challenges.

As the country emerges from a decade-long civil war between security forces and Maoists, tourism officials here believe it is now time to showcase the country's other cultural riches to the world.

Nepal, home to the birthplace of Lord Buddha and a number of the most sacred Hindu sites, wants to attract visitors interested in its rich history and culture.

"We are now targeting new economies like China, India, Korea, Malaysia and Thailand," says Sushil Ghimire, Secretary of the Nepal Ministry of Culture and Tourism.

He explains that not only are these nations close to Nepal, but they also "share similar socio-cultural conditions".

Important industry

The tourism sector is a key contributor to Nepal's economic growth.

Despite its political instability and poor infrastructure, the country attracted nearly 600,000 foreign tourists in 2012, a 10% cent increase on the previous year.

The industry provides employment to more than 750,000 people in a country where the unemployment rate is more than 45%.

Last year the tourism sector earned revenues of $370m (£245m) - nearly 3% of the country's gross domestic product (GDP).

It is also the second biggest foreign income earner after remittances from abroad by Nepalese workers.

And these numbers are likely to increase in the coming years.

The number of Chinese visiting Nepal has seen a big jump with nearly 75,000 tourists coming to the country last year, a 60% increase from the previous year.

Tourist numbers from Nepal's other giant neighbour, India, are also on the rise.

While their focus is on attracting a new segment of tourists, officials are also trying hard to provide more options for their existing adventure tourists, who constitute about 40% of the market.

Last year, they introduced a "Guerrilla Trail", a trek through the battle grounds of the country's bloody war with Maoist rebels, which ended in 2006.

The three-week-long trek takes hikers across rugged mountains, rivers and villages in western Nepal.

With their new strategies, officials hope to boost tourism revenue to $500m in the next five years.

Stumbling blocks

Despite its ambitious targets, Nepal still faces a number of issues, not least a lack of adequate infrastructure.

"International air connectivity to Nepal is poor. Very few airlines fly to Nepal," says Lekha Nath Bhandari of Ample Travels in Kathmandu.

Mr Bhandari explains that this results in ticket prices surging during the peak travel season.

"An average tourist cannot afford to buy such expensive tickets," he says.

He adds that as road connectivity in Nepal is inadequate, tourists depend on domestic airlines to fly to various destinations, where once again ticket prices act as a deterrent.

Another issue is Nepal's recent record on air safety.

In the past two years there have been six air crashes, killing more than 75 tourists. Last year, a small plane carrying 19 people towards Mount Everest crashed on the outskirts of the Nepalese capital,
killing everyone on board, including seven Britons and five Chinese.

At the same time, flash protests and strikes by various political parties also deter tourists.

While Nepal has enjoyed relative peace in the last five or six years, tour operators say they experience large number of cancellations during any prolonged period of strikes or protests.

'Game changer'

But the government says it is taking steps to address those concerns.

"We are upgrading our systems in airports. Modern radars will replace the existing old ones," says Mr. Ghimire.

"We are also trying to establish monitoring stations in mountains so that flights can have clear visibility and good communication with the main airport in Kathmandu,"

He adds that the government is also tightening the country's aviation regulations in line with the recommendations of the International Civil Aviation Organization.

Industry players say that these changes need to come sooner rather than later. They warn that any delay may see Nepal miss out on a great opportunity.

"Tourism is a mainstay of our economy. It is one of the few industries growing in this country," says Aditya Baral, a senior official at the Nepal Tourism Board.

"If we can manage it properly, this can even be a game-changer for us in the future."

Nepal has picture postcard natural beauty. For some it has the potential to become the Switzerland of the East.

A lot will now depend on how quickly it can turn from being a risky holiday spot into a must visit destination.
(Courtesy: BBC)

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Michael Dillon felicitiated

Nepal Tourism Board honoured  Michael Dillon on March 23, 2013 amidst a function. On behalf of Nepal Tourism Board Mr. Aditya Baral, Director and Spokesperson handed him over a plaque citing his contribution for the promotion of Nepal’s tourism. Addressing the function, Mr. Baral appreciated the role played by Mr. Dillon in promoting Nepal’s tourism highlighting his role. Mr. Dillon  is one of Australia’s leading cinematographers and makers of adventure and expedition documentaries having won more awards in this field than any other individual worldwide. His latest documentary, A Little Bit Mongolian, is available on DVD and is currently screening at international  festivals.

Michael’s documentary Everest Sea to Summit which was screened at the function is the most internationally awarded adventure documentary of all time winning nine grand prizes at international mountain and exploration film festivals. He has made five adventure documentaries with Sir Edmund Hillary and his latest, Beyond Everest, about Sir Edmund Hillary’s ongoing work with the Sherpa people of Everest, has won five international awards.

Speaking at the program, Mr. Dillon recalled his first visit to Everest in late sixties and what made him a documentary maker. Other expeditions and adventures he has filmed include the first Australian ascent of Everest in 1984, and another Everest Climb in 2006, two Everest ballooning expeditions, a base jumping expedition in the Karakoram, four Antarctic expeditions, two English Channel swims, expeditions in Siberia, Irian Jaya, Africa and the Andes, and a journey by London taxi from Buckingham  Palace  to the Sydney Opera House.

Mr. Jyoti Adhikari, Former President of Trekking Agents Association of Nepal requested all to recognize his contribution to Nepal through documentary films.

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Lalitpur Festival kicks off

The Lalitpur Festival kicked off in Lalitpur district from Thursday. The event is aimed at promoting the arts and culture in order to boost tourism for the social and economic development of the district.

The week-long event is jointly organised by Lalitpur Chamber of Commerce & Industry (LCCI), Lalitpur Sub Metropolitan City & Jyapu Samaj-Yala was inaugurated by culture expert Satya Mohan Joshi amidst a
special ceremony in the district.

The organisers have erected entry gates at different places of the districts including Kupondole, Sanepa, Pulchowk, Patan Dhoka, Gwarko, Balkumari and Mahadevistha as part of the publicity for the festival.

Rallies were take out from different places amidst traditional dances and music to mark the opening of the festival.

The event showcases domestic products reflecting local culture and traditions along with handicrafts, art works, dresses and food.

The organisers said the festival would help transform the district into culturally and industrially vibrant place. The festival will run until April 3

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Nat'l carrier starts daily flights to Malaysia

The national flight carrier Nepal Airlines Corporation (NAC) has increased its flights from Kathmandu to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, to seven days a week. The NAC used to operate flights for six days a week earlier.

Following the increase in the volume of passenger, the stat-owned airliner has increased the daily flights to Kuala Lumpur by one more day. The corporation has been operating with two Boeings 757 with the
capacity of 190 seats to different international destinations.

Similarly, the corporation is also operating three flights to Hong Kong, two flights to Thailand and four flights to Qatar

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National Industrial Exhibition concludes

The 24th National Industrial Exhibition organised by Cottage and Small Industries Development Board (CSIDB) with an aim to promote products manufactured by cottage and small scale industries concluded at the
Bhrikutimandap exhibition hall, in Kathmandu on Sunday.

The five-day event showcased products from across the country attracting over 100,000 visitors along with holding the transaction of over Rs. 30 million.

Speaking at the closing ceremony, Finance Minister Shankar Prasad Koirala said the government is committed to promote domestic products.

Meanwhile, 15 best entrepreneurs during the event were also awarded by Minister Koirala. The awarded entrepreneurs will have opportunity to visit different industrial areas in India.

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Glimpse of 1st Mid Western Tourism Fair held in Nepalgunj from March 10 t0 12, 2013.
Photos/Rajan Kafle

Editor: Sarad Pradhan
Asst. Editor: Sudhan Subedi
Media Center | Nepal Tourism Board
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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.