Weekly Official e-Newsletter of Nepal Tourism Board
November 29, 2013
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Nepal Bagged Best Decorated Stand- International Category in IITM 2013
Highlighting Nepal as abode of Lord Shiva, home of Mt. Everest and birthplace of Lord Buddha, Nepal Tourism Board (NTB) along with 5 travel trade companies from Nepal showcased diverse tourism attractions offering special packages for Punes ardent travelers, at India International Travel Mart (IITM) in Maharashtra, India from 22-24 November 2013. The three days show rounded up on the 24th November 2013 with formal closing ceremony.
Located in the most prime location at the entrance, Nepal stall remained the point of attraction for the visitors, Trade & media officials who crowded throughout the fair days and received positive coverage in local media also. The stall was well decorated with the graphics representing diverse tourism products with the cut- outs of Mt. Everest Fascia in all sides tinged with the Buddhist prayer flag round the stall contributed to a typical Nepali look. At a special ceremony conducted by the organizers, during the IITM 2013 Awards Nite, Nepal was recognized and honored with the Best Decorated International Stall. During the exhibition, NTB officials interacted with media, tour operators and general visitors and persuaded the media to make attractive publicity coverage in popular Marathi papers like Kesari, Times of India, Pune section,Prabhat and local television channels and disseminate the message that Nepal is not just the nearest international destination with value for money but a gateway to various Himalayan treks in Nepal and also to Mt. Kailash in Tibet.
Besides the pilgrimage tours of Pashupatinath and Muktinath, city tours of Kathmandu , Pokhara and Chitwan, Nepal is increasingly becoming the nearest international trekking destination for the Pune youths, college & university students. A number of queries were received mostly for Pashupatinath and other religious tourism hubs of Nepal i.e; Manakamnana, Muktinath etc.
While Indians have taken overseas travel as a part of their lifestyle, Nepal with easy access by air and land , has succeeded in receiving a gud number of Indian visitors in Nepal. The fair comprised of both the B2B as well as consumer day in separate order which really helped NTB & trade to accumulate a good number of queries. IITM 2013 participation with the travel partners : Gangotri Tours & Travels Pvt. Ltd., Kailash Journeys Pvt. Ltd., Kathmandu Tours & Travels Pvt. Ltd., Mega Adventures International Pvt. Ltd., & Peak Promotion Pvt. Ltd.definitely succeeded in increasing the interest of Pune people in Nepals upcoming tourism products and adventure activities.
Nepali handicraft in need of broader platform
Domestic handicraft traders have complained that their products, despite immense potential in the international market, have not been provided broader platforms.
“Nepali handicrafts have a high potential in the international market. However, due to lack of platform, we have not been able to gain exposure for our products either in the domestic or the international market,” says director of Dhukuti Nepal International Amar Shrestha.
Shrestha, who has placed a stall at the ongoing 11th Handicraft Fair, says that he wants to showcase his hand-made products both to domestic and international buyers. He said there should be more such fairs and exhibitions through which Nepali handicraft traders can showcase their products.
Handicraft Fair, annually being organized by the Federation of Handicraft Association of Nepal (FHAN), is the only platform where Nepali handicraft traders can showcase their products.
Garments, Pashmina, gems and jewelries, wood craft, stone craft, metal statues, natural fiber products, leather products and ceramics are among the major Nepali handicraft products that have potential in the international market.
Similarly, Subhadra Thapa, sales manager of Amrita Crafts, urged the government as well as the private sector to support the handicraft industry by providing them a good platform for exposure.
“Nepali hand-made products reflect the identity and culture of Nepal. The authorities should take all possible steps to promote them both in the domestic as well as international market,” says Thapa.
11th Handicraft Trade Fair under way
The 11th handicraft Trade Fair has begun in the capital from November 27 at Bhrikuti Mandap Exhibition Hall. The five-day long event is organized by the Federation of Handicraft Association of Nepal.
Speaking at the inaugural ceremony, Vice-chairman of National Planning Commission Rabindra Kumar Shakya urged the government to promote Nepali craftsmanship.
Similarly, President of FHAN Hem Ratna Shakya also highlighted the need to promote Nepali craftsmanship worldwide. “We have been annually organizing the event so as to promote Nepali handicraft products,” says Shakya.
There are around 200 stalls at the fair showcasing hundreds of Nepali handicraft products. According to the organizers, the event showcases hand-made products from around 20 districts across the country.
Moreover, the fair boasts of the participation by 30 international handicraft companies, including China, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Oman.
Organizers expect a transaction of Rs 100 million with a footfall of around 300,000 visitors to the fair. The entry tickets to the fair range from Rs 25 to Rs 100.
Traditional metalwork gaining popularity in Parbat
Despite the fact that the traditional craft of metalwork is declining in villages across the country, it seems to be gaining ground in urban areas.
Take Parbat district, for instance. Most of the traditional blacksmiths, who hail from the marginalized Dalit community, have relocated to the district headquarters, Kushma.
Prakash BK, who migrated to Kushma from Thana Maulo VDC some five years ago, has found a better market here. Unlike Prakash, many other traditional metalworkers in his village have washed their hands off the job because it couldn´t meet their daily needs.
Today he makes around Rs 25,000 a month and he is hardly found staying idle.
“Nowadays, I am overwhelmed with demands as both the local businesses and individuals come to me with a long list of demands. I don´t know the exact reason behind this sudden surge for hand-made utensils in the district, but this is certainly a welcome development for the poor people like us,” he said with a broad grin.
According to him, there is a high demand for household utensils and farming tools such as sickles, shovels and picks.
Locals from various VDCs of the district such as Shiwalaya, Durlung, Katuwachaupari and Chuwa approach him.
“Sometimes it becomes impossible for me to meet their demands even if I work day in and day out. But I always try to meet the demand by putting on extra efforts,” he adds.
Though he is proud of his indigenous craft, Prakash is also haunted by stigma attached to it, especially in the countryside.
“One has to be mentally prepared to tolerate discriminations against ironsmiths. This is because non-Dalits in the villages regard metalworking as a dirty job and they had always mistreated us for ages.”
“Thankfully, I and my family no longer have faced such inhumane treatment since we migrated to the district headquarters,” Prakash adds.
Many traditional craftsmen like him have quit the profession for good and gone abroad for foreign employment when they couldn´t eke out a decent living out of it.
Like Prakash, many other traditional craftsmen from rural areas of the district have moved to Kusma and nearby urban centers over the recent years.
“The demand is high and the profit depends on delivery,” says Kumar BK. “If a smooth supply of coal can be guaranteed in Kusum, I believe many others could embrace this profession,” Kumar says.
UNWTO and UNESCO join hands in sustainable tourism promotion
UNWTO and the United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) forged a new cooperation agreement consolidating efforts on sustainable tourism and the protection of natural and cultural heritage (26 November 2013, New York, USA).
Under the Memorandum of Understanding, signed by UNWTO Secretary-General, Taleb Rifai and UNESCO Director General, Irina Bokova, in the margins of the UN Chief Executives Board Meeting, UNWTO and UNESCO will work together on national, regional and global initiatives in the areas of sustainable tourism and the safeguarding of natural and cultural heritage through:
- The implementation of the UNESCO World Heritage and Sustainable Tourism Programme
- The development of transnational tourism initiatives to promote and protect the shared heritage of the Silk Roads Heritage Corridors
- The identification, development and networking of sustainable tourism initiatives and activities in biosphere reserves
- The promotion of sustainable tourism through United Nations partnerships and initiatives, such as the United Nations Steering Committee on Tourism for Development (SCTD) and the Global Partnership for Sustainable Tourism (GPST).
“UNWTO has already been working closely with UNESCO for many years to ensure a sustainable approach to heritage management and tourism,” said Mr. Rifai. “Tourism can play a significant role in the preservation, conservation and promotion of cultural and natural assets and this agreement further strengthens our capacity to integrate sustainable tourism principles with the protection of the world´s heritage.”
UNESCO´s Director General, Irina Bokova said "I look forward to furthering this partnership on the basis of shared values and common objectives" and expressed her gratitude for the reinforced cooperation between the two sister agencies.
The MoU is the third agreement between UNESCO and UNWTO since 1979.