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Weekly Official e-Newsletter of Nepal Tourism Board

In this Issue :

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Nepal listed as one of the "52 Places to Go in 2014" by The New York Times
Nepal promoted in South Indian Hub, Chennai
TIA domestic terminal turns into Hollywood set for 'Everest'
Eight star hotels, deluxe resorts coming up
Ruru thronged for Maghe Sankrati
Nepal can accommodate 7.44m tourists annually: NRB report

Nepal listed as one of the "52 Places to Go in 2014" by The New York Times

One of the leading newspapers in the United State of America, The New York Times, has named Nepal as one of the 52 places to visit in 2014. Sanjay Surana writes in The New York Times, “New peaks open up for alpine adventurers-this Himalayan kingdom is the mother lode of alpinism, home to eight of the world’s 10 highest summits (including Everest). So when the Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation subcommittee recommended last September that Nepal allow access to 165 new peaks in the Kanchenjunga massif this year — 13 of them above 23,000 feet — the world’s mountaineering community was aflutter. The proposal is significant since it is the first such release in a decade. If the approval process progresses as expected, the territory will open for the spring season.”

Nepal is  placed at the 45th position. This list is published annually by the daily and had featured 46 destinations to visit in 2013.

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Nepal promoted in South Indian Hub, Chennai

Nepal Tourism Board, along with nine Nepalese private sectors - Monterosa Treks and Expedition (P) Ltd, Buddha Air, Gangotri Tours & Travels Pvt. Ltd, Muktinath Yatra Pvt. Ltd, Kailash Journeys Pvt. Ltd,

Ojha Holidays Tours & Treks Pvt. Ltd,Samrat Tours & Travels Pvt. Ltd,Kathmandu Holiday Tours & Travels Pvt. Ltd & Exotic Destination Nepal Tours & Treks Pvt. Ltd participated in the Travel & Tourism Fair (TTF) in Chennai held at Chennai Trade Center, India from 10th to 12h Jan 2014. The 3 day fair was  inaugurated by Mr. Shoeb Samad , Regional Director(South)- Ministry of Tourism, Government of India.

India, having a huge number of outbound tourists is a major potential market for Nepal. Having the advantage of being next door neighbours with cultural proximity / easy travel access to both the countries, the prospect of travel between the countries remains very high. TTF considered to be one of the major tourism fairs of India, was an ideal platform for consumers, buyers and sellers.A total of 160 participants from overall India and abroad, including representations from 16 Indian states and 10 countries showcasing their tourism products and services participated in the three day fair. While Friday and part of Saturday was reserved for travel trade visitors, Saturday afternoon the show was opened for all to facilitiate weekend travel shopping.

Placed in the prime location, the Nepal stall attracted many positive buyers, media and the general public alike. The buyers were more focussed on pilgrimage tours and natural sightseeing tours whereas the general public queried on issues of connectivity, travel documents and frontier formalities for entry of vehicles. Besides the religious tours to Pashupatinath, Muktinath and Kailash; city tours of Kathmandu, Pokhara, Chitwan adventure tourism  and packages developed by National Tourism Organisation also received many queries.

The Nepal stall was recognised by TTF with the best promotional material award in electronic form.

The Fair was participated by Officer Incharge Ms. Janaki Prasad Upadhyay and STN Coordinator Ms. Namrata Shrestha from Nepal Tourism Board. 

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TIA domestic terminal turns into Hollywood set for 'Everest'

Domestic terminal of the Tribhuvan International Airport (TIA) replicated a grand movie set on Tuesday as top Hollywood stars faced cameras and reflectors for the filming of ´Everest´, a movie based on the Everest bestseller ´Into Thin Air´.

The film, which is being directed by Baltasar Kormákur, an actor and director from Iceland, features popular Hollywood actors Josh Brolin, Jake Gyllenhaal, Jason Clarke and John Hawkes.

The 44-member filming cast and crew arrived in Nepal on Sunday. Josh Brolin and John Hawkes were seen giving their shot at the TIA on January 14, 2014.

"There were more than 300 supporting casts for today´s shot that started at 6:30 in the morning," said Wongchu Sherpa, chairman of Peak Promotion, a trekking and mountaineering agency of Nepal, which is partly managing the film´s shooting in Nepal.

´Everest´, which received the permission for filming in Nepal from January 9 to 23, commenced the shoot on Monday.

Besides TIA, the filming location in Kathmandu includes Durbar Marg, Thamel, Ason, Bhaktapur Durbar Square and Boudha.

"The crew will fly to the Lukla airport early on Wednesday and proceed to shoot in the Namche area, and is most likely to reach the Everest Base Camp," informed a source.

´Into Thin Air´ -- the book on which ´Everest´ is based -- narrates the ill fated tale of the 1996 Mount Everest Disaster when eight British mountaineers were caught in a blizzard and killed while many were injured on Mount Everest during summit attempts, from the experience of journalist Jon Krakauer.

He, on assignment from ´Outside´ magazine, was in a party led by guide Rob Hall that lost four climbers in the disaster.

Expedition leaders Rob Hall and Scott Fischer were among those who were killed, and the film revolves around their stories. According to Guardian, Clarke, of ´The Great Gatsby´ and ´Zero Dark Thirty´ fame, will play the expedition leader Rob Hall while Gyllenhaal, renowned for his role in ´The Day After Tomorrow´ and ´Brokeback Mountain´, will star as Scott Fischer.

Similarly, Brolin (´Milk´; ´Men in Black 3´) is in line to play a doctor named Beck Weathers, who´s forced to spend a night on Everest, while Hawkes (´The Sessions´) will be cast as a slow climber who causes his team to be late setting out on their journey up the peak. Director Kormákur´s earlier films include ´2 Guns´ and ´Contraband´.

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Eight star hotels, deluxe resorts coming up

As many as eight star hotels and deluxe hotels are coming up in different parts of the country.

According to officials at the Tourism Industry Division under the Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation (MoCTCA), eight star hotels and deluxe resorts filed application to conduct Initial Environmental Examination (IEE) and Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) over the first half of fiscal year 2013/14.

As per the existing rules, hotels with 50-100 beds must carry out IEE while those having more than 100 beds need to conduct EIA before starting construction works.

Hotel Nilgiri (three-star) in Jhapa, Hotel Galaxy (two-star) in Budhanilkantha, Sheraton Hotel (deluxe five-star) in Kesharmahal, Rara Hotel and Recreation Center (deluxe resort) in Mugu, Nepal Hospitality in Thamel, Star Hospitality in Baneshwar, Himalayan Shangri-la Village Resort in Dhulikhel, and a resort (deluxe resort) in Chitwan have applied at the division to conduct IEE and EIA.

“Both Nepal Hospitality and Star Hospitality are star-hotels but their grades have not been decided yet. Similarly, Himalayan Shangri-la Village Resort has sought permission to conduct IEE as it is adding more rooms,” said Him Lal Bhandari section officer at the division.

Officials say investment in hotels is increasing as investors are hopeful that tourism industry will flourish in the coming years with Nepal moving toward political stability.

Madhu Sudan Burlakoti, chief of the division, said the country is seeing fresh investment in star hotels after a gap of many years. “Development of tourism infrastructures, increase in movement of domestic tourists and positive political development might have encouraged investors to put their money in the hospitality sector,” he added.

Madhav Om Shrestha, executive director of Hotel Association Nepal (HAN), said big investment is being made in tourist areas outside the capital city.

Tourists, both local and foreign, have been facing difficulty while traveling outside the capital due to lack of good hotels. “Such situation will come to an end once these hotels start operation,” added Burlakoti.

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Ruru thronged for Maghe Sankrati

Like previous years, thousands of devotees ithrongednto  Rurukshetra, one of the four dham in Nepal, from early morning on January 15  to take a holy bath in Kaligandaki River on the occasion of Maghe Sankranti.

The devotees were seen performing pooja in Rishikesh temple, Devdutta Rishi and Rurukanya after taking a holy dip in the Kaligandaki River. The fair in Ruru would continue for three days.

It is believed that the idol of Rishi Keshav situated in Ruru is not found in any other religious sites in the country. Ruru is the confluence of Syangja, Palpa and Gulmi district where a big religious fair takes place on the occasion of Maghe Sankarnti every year.

Devotees from different parts of the country as well as India and Myanmar also arrived there to take a holy bath and perform pooja believing that taking a bath in the Kaligandaki River takes one to salvation.

There are nearly 500 years of old physical structures carrying religious and cultural importance including the Rishikesh Temple, Ruru Kanya Temple, Yagyamukteshwor Mahadev, Rudrabeni, Manimukundeshwor Mahadev, Kanchaneshwor Mahadev, Laxmi Narayan Temple, Ramjanaki Temple and many others in Rurukhestra.

Likewise, the Maghi is being observed in Tharu settlements in the mid and far western districts of the country from early morning. Maghi festival is taken as a festival promoting social tolerance and bond.

Besides observing the Maghi, the locals in Tharu communities also expedited talks for selecting the Bhalmansa, Aghariya, Chaukidarawa, the chief of the community to perform social activities in a year.

The people of this community prepare special food item called Dhikri meant for the festival. Dhikri is offered as a Maghi treat to the guest and sisters which is prepared a month before the beginning of the festival.

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Nepal can accommodate 7.44m tourists annually: NRB report

The number of tourist standard hotels in Nepal swelled 15.4 percent to 1,224 in the last fiscal year, said a study conducted by the central bank. According to the survey entitled Economic Activities Report 2013-14 conducted by Nepal Rastra Bank’s research department in eight major cities in 47 districts, 20,408 room nights are available per day in the country. This means Nepal can accommodate 7.44 million tourists annually with the existing infrastructure. Room nights or bed numbers of hotels grew 18.47 percent from the previous year. The central bank survey, the third in the series, is based on field reports of economic activities and other indicators in Kathmandu, Pokhara, Biratnagar, Janakpur, Birgunj, Bhairahawa, Nepalgunj and Dhangadhi.

According to the study, tourist arrivals via air in Nepal in fiscal 2012-13 dropped a marginal 1.4 percent to 586,668, largely due to a significant dip in arrivals from the southern neighbour. Indian arrivals to Nepal via air transport dropped 15.1 percent in the last fiscal year. However, arrivals from third countries grew 3.9 percent.

“As Nepal failed to give continuity to its promotional campaign carried out in past years, its impact was visible in the arrival numbers,” the study said. A prolonged political transition has also been blamed for the failure to attract more tourists to Nepal.

The study report said that Nepal’s hospitality sector had improved gradually in terms of service and facilities. However, it has pointed out that Nepal has not been able to shift its focus from traditional tourism to other products.

The country has not been able to cash in on mountaineering, entertainment, pilgrimage and medical tourism to increase tourist length of stay. “The policies and programmes have not been able to deal with challenges like diversifying tourism products and holding promotional campaigns beyond traditional areas to create employment, alleviate poverty and make tourism a major foreign exchange earning sector,” the study said.

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Photo of the week
A perfect souvenir to take home with you

Upcoming Events

Shahid Diwas

Date : Jan 30, 2014
Veneu: All Over In Nepal 

Sonam Lhosar

Date: Jan 31, 2014
Venue: All Over In Nepal

Third Eastern Regional Tourism Fair

Date:   January 30, 31 & February 1, 2014
Venue: Damak, Jhapa 



Photo Feature

Beauty of Nepal

Editor: Sarad Pradhan
Asst. Editor: Sudhan Subedi
Media Center | Nepal Tourism Board
Tourist Service Center, P.O. Box : 11018
Bhrikuti Mandap, Kathmandu, Nepal
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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.