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Weekly Official e-Newsletter of Nepal Tourism Board

In this Issue :

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Nepal Tourism Board celebrates its 15th Anniversary
Pilgrimage tourism popular in Bangalore
Tourism has emerged as major econ activity: Secy
Post journo Prasain awarded
ACAP designs e-tags to track trekkers
CAN Info-Tech concludes

Nepal Tourism Board celebrates its 15th Anniversary

Nepal Tourism Board (NTB) celebrated its 15th Anniversary on the 9th of January, 2014 in the presence of the Honorable Minister of Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation (MoCTCA), Mr. Ram Kumar Shrestha as the chief guest, Secretary of the Ministry for Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation(MoCTCA) and Chairman of NTB Mr. Sushil Ghimire as the Special Guest, various dignitaries and guests, prominent stakeholders, media and NTB staff. Addressing the function Minister Shrestha stressed on attracting  Foreing Direct Investment in tourism in Nepal and criticized the Nepalese mentality about duping foreign investors with false promises. He further said that Nepal Tourism Board should make its long term plan to bring in more tourists in Nepal.

Secretary of the Ministry for Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation(MoCTCA) and Chairman of NTB Mr. Sushil Ghimire said Nepal would have an international airport in Bhairawa by 2015.

Mr. Dhruba Narayan Shrestha, Executive Member, Nepal Tourism Board pointed out the necessity of a five-year plan for the board, citing that the one-year plan is insufficient to cope with the future challenges of the tourism industry. He requested private sector to come out with plan and program for five year plan to promote and market tourism internationally.

After analyzing the challenges that it had overlooked since its establishment 15 years ago, Acting CEO, Mr. Subash Nirola, concluded that NTB would  need to come up with a long-term plan in the near future. Lack of tourist based infrastructure, lack of adequate information about destinations and tourists, and lack of airplanes and airports are the major challenges that NTB has identified, he said. In order to cope with the prevailing difficult situation in the sector and the globally changing tourism trend, he highlighted the necessity to promote and market Nepal as a global tourism destination. Addressing the program, Acting CEO Nirola said: “A long-term plan will help the board know where it stands and where it plans to be.” Nirola also asked the private sector to cooperate with the board in all possible ways.

Realizing the need to have proper data on tourists visiting Nepal, Mr. Nirola and Director General at Department of Immigration Sharad Chandra Paudel signed an agreement to facilitate the collection of tourist arrivals  data at TIA. Also, during the ceremony, Hon’ble Minister hoisted the national flag and Mt. Everest Flag and Acting CEO of NTB hoisted the NTB flag in the premises.

In the program, “In Focus, 2013” was unveiled by Hon’ble Minister Mr. Shrestha and “Survey of Indian Visitors by Land 2012” was unveiled by Acting CEO of NTB Mr. Subash Nirola. Also, a Nepal Investment Bank ATM machine at the entrance of NTB premises was inaugurated by Hon’ble Minister Mr. Shrestha. Senior officer at NTB, Ms. Archana Kc Rana and messenger Mr. Ram Prasad Lamichhane were awarded with the “Best Employee of the Year 2070” title at the ceremony by the  Minister. In addition to that, the winners of the Table Tennis tournament held as a supplementary event of the anniversary were conferred with trophies, certificates and cash prizes by the Hon’ble Minister Mr. Shrestha. The winners were Ms. Charu Shrestha in women’s table tennis singles and Mr Uday Bhattarai in men’s table tennis singles. A blood donation program was also held to commemorate the anniversary. Altogether 54 persons donated their blood.

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Pilgrimage tourism popular in Bangalore

Nepal Tourism Board, along with Nepal's 9 noted travel/tour service providing companies, participated the Travel and Tourism Fair ( TTF) held on 3-5 January, 2014 in a vibrant city of India, Bangalore.

Claimed as India's biggest travel show, TTF Bangalore created an excellent platform to establish the fruitful business contacts between exhibitors and the visitors. It was also a very appropriate medium to showcase the destination management organizations unique offers to the the very focused audience.

Thousands of visitors inquired Nepal's prime tourism attractions including pilgrimage yatras like Pasupatinath, Muktinath, Manokamana. Besides this, inquiry about  Kailash yatra via Nepal was also the prime segment of visitors inquiry from Nepal stall.

Soft adventure like trekking and rafting, leisure tour of Kathmandu, Pokhara, and Chitawan, and entertainment segments are also found equally popular among youth travelers. Nepalese travel agents are highly encouraged with the very positive response from visitors.

Around 1800 trade and 6000 general visitors visited the show of 100 plus Indian and International exhibitors in three days. India has a largest share in total tourist arrival in Nepal and it is a prime market. Thus, Nepal Tourism Board has focused its tourism marketing and promotion programs in major Indian cities.

Nepal's participation in the show was led by Mr. Aditya Baral, Director for Tourism Marketing and Promotion, Nepal Tourism Board and exhibition activities at the stall were coordinated by Mr. Deepak R Joshi, Asst. Manager in- charge of Nepal Tourism Board.

The show was organized by Fairfest Media Private Ltd., India, which has 25 yrs of experience of organizing such tourism exhibitions in various cities of India and abroad. 

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Tourism has emerged as major econ activity: Secy

Chief Secretary Lilamani Poudel has said tourism has emerged as a major economic activity in Nepal and is expected to do wonders in the coming years in terms of employment generation and poverty alleviation.

At the time when other sectors are not performing well, tourism is only the sector that could benefit Nepal in the short-run, said Paudel addressing the 50th annual general meeting of Nepal Association of Tour and Travel Agents (NATTA) here on January 9, 2014.

Saying that attracting 100,000 tourists means adding 50,000 jobs, he said: “Hence, in the present context, tourism can change the fortunes of remote areas as well other places with potential but lacking infrastructure.

Areas such as far-west have a lot of potential to attract visitors, but it is disappointing that the areas have not been explored yet.”

He urged the private sector to come up with a strategic plan, under which the government can mobilise resources to develop a particular sector, eventually benefiting the rural areas.

Tourism Secretary Sushil Ghimire said a strong national flag career plays a crucial role in the development of tourism. “In Nepal, it took almost 26 years to buy planes for the national flag carrier. This fact has shown why Nepal is lagging behind,” he said, adding planners and policymakers must realise the fact.

Federation of Nepalese Chambers of Commerce and Industry President Suraj Vaidya said the country is receiving huge investment in tourism after hydropower. He said Nepal has observed sustained growth in terms of the number of tourists, but has not been able to attract quality tourists.

“We should not run after the numbers. We need to look what is the value of tourism or what quality tourism means to Nepal,” he said, adding the private sector has expected the new government will bring a Labour Bill to ensure and create business-friendly environment.  

Outgoing NATTA President Pavitra Kumar Karki lamented the country has not been able to increase the average length stay of tourists.

Poor airport infrastructure, weak performance of Nepal Airlines and uncontrolled airfare are some challenges for the country’s tourism, he said.

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Post journo Prasain awarded

Nepal Associ-ation of Tour and Travel Agents (NATTA) has felicitated The Kathmandu Post scribe Sangam Prasain with the NATTA Media Award 2013 for his significant contribution to the development of Nepal’s tourism through journalism.

Prasain was conferred a plaque and cash award by Minister for Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation Ram Kumar Shrestha amid NATTA’s 50th annual general meeting. Ramesh Tiwari from an online media and Kedar Koirala of Mountain TV were also honoured. Tourism entrepreneur Bikram Pandey was awarded with NATTA Bhaskar Award 2013. (PR)

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ACAP designs e-tags to track trekkers

 Amidst growing incidents of tourists losing their way, meeting with accidents or falling victims to wild animal attacks while trekking through jungles, the Annapurna Conservation Area Project (ACAP) has come up with a system to trace their activities throughout their excursions.

Billed as Tourist Tracking System (TTS), the new system enables the ACAP to keep close tab on tourists with the help of a small device that looks like a pen-drive.

The device, aptly named as an ´e-tag´ by the ACAP, automatically updates details of tourists on a computer system administered by ACAP. Even friends and family members of tourists, whether in Nepal or abroad, can log on to the system and see where their dear ones have reached, provided that they have the code numbers of the e-tags concerned.

Tourists can also use e-tags to send SOS message to ACAP office if they lose their way, meet with accidents or are attacked by wild animals or robbers. "It´s very simple," said Mahabir Pun, member of the National Trust for Nature Conservation (NTNC) that administers ACAP. "Tourists, in case of emergency, just need to press the button of e-tag. We get signals and know they are in trouble. So, rescue work can be carried out immediately."

NTNC´s Mahabir Pun demonstrates the e-tag, a device to track trekkers, in Pokhara on Friday.

"We believe the TTS could be very useful," said Pun. "In the past, tourists would often lose their way in the jungle. Some would even fall prey to animal attacks. Due to the lack of an effective system, we would always face problems in rescuing tourists immediately. Now, we know which tourists have reached where. And we can mobilize teams to rescue them."

Pun, who won the Magsaysay award in 2007 by developing wireless computer technology in remote villages, designed the TTS with the support from the Bangkok-based Asia Pacific Tele-community. To get e-tags, tourists need to deposit Rs 1,000 at the ACAP office before they set out for trekking. They can get back deposits when they safely return e-tags to the ACAP.

For the time being, e-tags work just inside the Annapurna sanctuary that includes places like Bire Thanti, Ghandruk, Pothana, Pritam Deurali and Shikh. "It is a six-month test period," says Pun. "If our system works effectively, we can expand it elsewhere, too." According to Pun, e-tags transmit signals through relay-stations that have been set up in different places of the Annapurna sanctuary. "A station receives e-tag signals and relays them to other stations," says he. "We can set up more such stations in the future."

Pun says transmission of signals in the TTS is a bit lengthy process. "But, it could be useful especially when tourists cannot carry satellite phones with them," says he. (News courtesy: The Republica)

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CAN Info-Tech concludes

Subisu CAN Info-Tech 2014 concluded on January 7, 2014, attracting more than 335,000 visitors.

According to Computer Association of Nepal (CAN) - the organizer of the event, this is the highest footfall in the history of the ICT event.

“We often say Nepal is far behind other countries in terms of IT. But the number of enthusiastic visitors and new technological innovations showcased by domestic IT companies at the Info-Tech proved that the notion is wrong,” Anil Kumar Pant, general secretary of CAN, said.

He also said the event became remarkable this year as Vice-President Paramananda Jha, Chairman of the interim government Khilaraj Regmi and top leaders of different political parties visited the fair and got updated with latest technological innovations.

Moreover, Pant also said domestic IT companies are also showing their participation at such events enthusiastically these years because of which the event is getting successful with every passing year.

The Info-Tech had 221 stalls of different companies dealing on hardware sales and maintenance, power solutions, and mobile phones and accessories, as well as Internet service providers, telecom operators, ICT College and training institutions, software solution and payment solution, among others. According to CAN, 119 IT companies participated in the Info-Tech.

Meanwhile, CAN has announced to hold CAN Info-Tech in Pokhara from February 19 to 23 in association with CAN-Kaski.

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Photo of the week
Hon'ble Minister and CEO Unveiling the book

Upcoming Events

Maghi Parva/ Maghe Sankranti

Date: Jan 15, 2014
Venue: All Over Nepal 

Shahid Diwas

Date: Jan 30, 2014
Venue: All Over Nepal

Sonam Lhosar

Date: Jan 31, 2014
Venue: All Over Nepal 

4th Kapilvastu Maghi (Khichadi) Mahotsav ,2070

Date : Magh 2-4, 2070
Venue : Hatousa 1, Kapilvastu

Tharu Maghi Mahotsav, 2070

Date : Magh 1, 2070
Venue: Tundikhel, Kathmandu .

Pashupati Sangeet Sandhaya

Date: Magh 1, 2070
Venue : Pashupati Area, Kathmandu.

Makar Sangranti Mela &Bull Fighting

Date: Magh 1, 2070
Taruka & Uttargaya Dham Rasuwa, Nuwakot. 



Photo Feature

Nepal Tourism Board celebrates its 15th Anniversary

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.