Category Archives: Travel News

Come Back Tourists in Nepal

Nov 01, 2015
Do you still have anything to eat?” some of my friends living in Europe recently asked me. “Could you go on a multi-day trip to the Annapurna region as planned?” I answered that the choice in the restaurants has slightly shrunk, and that the transportation costs have gone up since my arrival a month ago. But I am still doing well. I feel safe in Nepal.

Why are my friends back home so concerned about me?

Half the truth

One of the answers to the question can be found in the media. For example, last week the fee-financed public German Television ZDF—which characterises itself as a premium high quality station—broadcasted a short report about the current situation in Nepal. Unfortunately, in this report, a professor from the University of Heidelberg expressed some grave misjudgments about the state of affairs in Nepal. The reporter, who has possibly never been to Nepal himself, praised the professor for having recently visited Nepal, and having a profound knowledge of the country. Although the professor was accurate in describing the dissatisfaction of the Madhesis, and in reporting about their ongoing protests, his statements gave the impression that life in Nepal had come to a complete standstill. That everyone in Nepal would now suffer from hunger, and that locals, expats and tourists would have to cook their daily meals over small wood fires out on the roads. “No petrol, no gas”, the professor stated unopposed suggesting that everyday necessities like medicine and drinking water was no longer ensured in Nepal.

Of course, Nepal is one of the poorest countries in the world. And the ongoing unrest in the Tarai and the unofficial blockade by India exacerbates the situation for hundreds of thousands, if not millions of Nepalis. Yet, reports such as the one broadcasted on ZDF—watched by millions of German, Austrian and Swiss viewers—in which a professor reflected his subjective impressions unopposed, can be more harmful than the trade embargo on Nepal itself. I am now currently living in Nepal, and my own experiences are very different to what the professor suggests.

The reporting on Nepal by many European media after the devastating earthquakes on April 25 and May 12 already gave a serious blow to the country’s image. Readers of several newspapers, viewers of many TV stations, and users of thousands of websites were given the impression that Nepal had been entirely destroyed by the quake. The number of dead, injured or homeless people was of course huge, and the damage to infrastructure was disastrous but not to the extent that is being depicted in the international media. Unfortunately, it was reported that Kathmandu and many other tourist hotspots such as Pokhara and the Annapurna region have suffered huge damages. Such incomplete and partially erroneous news coverage could prove to be abysmal for tourism in Nepal.

“Compared to last year, this fall the number of guests decreased by around 70 percent” complains Sabine Pretsch. It is understandable that some people are more anxious than others, and after disasters such as the earthquake, travelers are more fearful. “But the media, for example in my homeland Germany, put the tourism industry in an awkward position because of their exaggerated reports of the earthquake and its consequences.” Continue reading

Over 2,000 foreign tourists visit Lomanthang

Upper Mustang Trek

Over 2,000 foreigners have visited Lomanthang, the main tourist hub of Mustang district, during nine months of 2015.

According to the Annapurna Conservation Area Project (ACAP), a total of 2039 foreign tourists visited the district to visit Mustangi Royal Palace, to study about the art and culture and to enjoy the panoramic view till September of this year.

The ACAP has been keeping record of the tourists, visiting the Lomanthang, from Kagbeni and Lomanthnag area daily, said Chief of ACAP, Lomanthang, santosh Sherchan. The number of tourists visiting Lomanthang was less as compared to corresponding period of the previous year.

Most of the tourists were from Germany, France and Netherlands, according to the ACAP. The number of tourists visiting the Lomanthang has also said to be decreased due to increasing cold in upper Mustang.

A total of 4,200 tourists had visited Lomanthang in 2014.

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Resilient Nepal awaits return of tourists

Nepal Travel
30th September , 2015

Buying essential stuff from a shop in Thamel in Kathmandu, Tracy Austin, a young traveller from Australia, was readying to go for adventure climbing when dna caught up with her. “I learnt on the Internet that Nepal has put things back in shape and conducting adventures treks and climbing. I thought to give it a try and things are looking pretty great here. I am on for a Island Peak climbing, Lobuche East and Pokalde with my two friends in a couple of days,” she said.

The exuberance of Tracy and many other trekkers like her that have started arriving in Kathmandu are a clear indication back that after being hit by a devastating earthquake on April 25, a resilient Nepal is steadily and firmly trudging back to normalcy. “After hitting a massive dip in tourist inflow after the earthquake, we have touched 60% of tourist arrivals in August this year when compared to August 2014. And hope to bring the figure to 100% or more in 2016,” director general of department of tourism, G B Karkee told dna.

Many Nepalese tour operators give credit to Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA), a no-profit organisation, for the quick revival of tourism in Nepal. Soon after the earthquake PATA assessed the situation in Nepal and made Tourism Rapid Recovery Taskforce- Report and Recommendations to Nepal government in on 21 June, 2015.

“The report revolved around source market campaigns, organising international events, upgrading the level of services. It seems it has started paying dividends,” said Suman Pandey, chairman of PATA – Nepal chapter who also heads a travel and adventure firm.

One of such events was the India-Nepal Folk Crafts Festival organized jointly by Ministry of Textiles, Government of India in association with South Asia Foundation from September 23-28, 2015 in Kathmandu. This event was an exhibition-cum-sale of craft products by artisans from India and Nepal where brand “Khadi Nepal” was launched by India ambassador, Ranjit Rae.

India tourists who contribute nearly 25% to Nepal’s tourist traffic especially in pilgrim circuit of Pashupatinath, Bhaktapur and temples in Janakpur etc. is also showing signs of revival but their inflow is still to be matched with Western and Chinese tourists. “The Indians tourists were picking up. But because of the current standoff the numbers have again reduced to a trickle. We hope it ends soon,” said Krishna Chhetri, a travel agent dealing in pilgrimage circuit.

Several travel and tourism firms and shops selling adventure equipment and essentials have also started feeling the crunch. “The blockade at the India-Nepal border has impacting our business. There is a sudden dip in tourist inflow,” said Narendra Tamang who deals in adventure essentials.

According to Nepalese government officials, fuel stocks in Nepal have gone low with 9 days of petrol and 15 days of diesel left. The government has ordered maximum 3 litre supply to two wheelers per week, 10 litre to four wheelers per week and 40 litres of diesel supply to buses per week. “Fuel shortage will obstruct Nepal’s tourism recovery process that was built up with a lot of effort. We earnestly request the two governments to resolve the blockade and pave way for Nepal’s recovery,” said Pandey.

DNA INDIA

Himalayan Air Festival kicks off in Pokhara

Minister for Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation Kripashur Sherpa on Saturday said that the Himalayan Air Festival will play a vital role in attracting tourists back to country post April 25 Gorkha Earthquake.

While inaugurating the Himalayan Air Festival Garuda Fun, organized on the occasion of World Tourism Day today, Minister Sherpa urged all the stakeholders to disseminate the news about adventurous programs organized in the country to attract tourists.

He expressed confidence that mosaic paragliding above the sky of Pokhara would attract the tourists.

Similarly, National Tourism Promotion Committee convener Govinda Pahari expressed confidence that the festival would promote the tourism sectors as it was facing several hindrances after April 25 Gorkha earthquake.

The Association Acting chair Sobit Baniya informed that the festival was organized to promote the tourism sectors in the country.

On the occasion, the sports like paragliding, ultralight aircraft and power paragliding has been organized in Pokhara.

Apparatus of the sports machines are printed on clothes of Hindu god and goddess like Shiva, Parbati and Laxmi among others.

A total of 50 pilots, including 35 foreigners, and 15 nationals are participating in the event.

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Nepal gets new constitution

21, September, 2015

Nepal’s decades-long wait for the new constitution through people’s representatives is over, as President Ram Baran Yadav today announced the commencement of new constitution during the Constituent Assembly meeting-cum-special function organised at the CA’s regular meeting venue.

When CA Chairman Subas Chandra Nembang requested President Yadav to sign the designated page to proclaim the commencement of the new constitution, Yadav bowed his head to each of the five copies before signing them. He then read out the text: “I announce, before Nepali people, that the Nepal’s Constitution, endorsed by CA, authenticated by CA chairman and presented here, has commenced today — 20 September 2015.”

“Endorsed by people’s representatives, this constitution is the document of our common commitment for protecting freedom, geographic integrity, independence and sovereignty vested in people,” Yadav said in his speech when Nembang requested him for his address. The packed House of the CA applauded the President’s address by thumping the table.

Yadav called on people of mountains, hills and Tarai-Madhes to protect and promote the people’s rights, achievements and the federal democratic republic structure and urged them to maintain mutual unity, tolerance, cooperation and harmony. “Constitution is a dynamic document. I request you to be continuously active towards its successful implementation for social justice, rights and prosperity,” he said.
The Kathmandu Valley erupts in celebration with sporadic fireworks display after the constitution was promulgated.

The Kathmandu Valley erupts in celebration with sporadic fireworks display after the constitution was promulgated.

Expressing his confidence that the new constitution would protect and promote Nepal’s ethnic, lingual, religious, cultural and geographic diversity, he said the new constitution had given an opportunity to strengthen unity in diversity and end discrimination and inequalities.

“With the announcement of commencement of this constitution, federal democratic republican system has been institutionalised in our country. It has been established that only the people are the source of sovereignty vested in Nepali people and state power,” Yadav said. Continue reading

New constitution elates tourism entrepreneurs

September 19, 2015

Tourism entrepreneurs have expressed happiness over the endorsement of the new constitution by the Constituent Assembly.

The entrepreneurs have expressed hope that the new statute would help bring political stability and create investment friendly climate in the country. They hoped that the government would encourage private investment in all the sectors.

Former Chief Executive Officer of Nepal Tourism Board Prachandaman Shrestha said that the business sector is the most excited group after the Constituent Assembly endorsed the new constitution. He said that the promulgation of the new constitution would open up new possibilities in the tourism sector. “The new constitution has encouraged the entire business sector. This has given a political outlet to the long-standing political impasse. It has also encouraged the tourism entrepreneurs to make new investments,” Shrestha added.

He also hoped that the number of tourists would increase rise in the country after the promulgation of constitution.

Likewise, Chairman of Nepal Association of Travel and Tour Agents DB Limbu, Chairman of National Tourism Entrepreneurs Association Dipak Mahat and General Secretary of Trekking Agencies’ Association of Nepal Sagar Pandey univocally lauded the promulgation of the new constitution adding that it would open up new avenues for investment in the country.

A version of this article appears in print on September 20, 2015 of The Himalayan Times.

Himalayan Times

Tara Air with New Twin Otter Aircraft

17th September, 2015

Tara new twin otterTara Air, a subsidiary of Yeti Airlines, in collaboration with Great Himalayan Trail, brought a new twin otter aircraft on Thursday with an objective of promoting village tourism.

The airlines said that the new aircraft will be useful in operating flights to the rural mountainous destinations.

The 18-seater twin otter is the most expensive aircraft of its type so far with a factory price of seven million US Dollars, equivalent to Rs 700 million. The aircraft was purchased with the financial assistance of the UK Aid.

With the new addition, the Yeti Air now has 15 aircrafts including seven of Tara Air in its fleet. Yeti Airlines is currently operating flights to 29 different destinations in the country, said Umesh Chandra Raya, the CEO of the Airlines.

The new twin otter aircraft has a modern engine with the capacity equivalent of a jet airplane and therefore is considered reliable for safe travel, said senior pilot Pemba Sherpa.

Minister for Tourism and Civil Aviation Kripasur Sherpa inaugurated the Twin Otter (9N-AKL) at the domestic terminal of the Tribhuvan International Airport.
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Nepal still safe tourist destination even after major earthquake

Nepal is still a safe destination for tourism even after the major earthquake that struck the country on April 25, said participants of a program here on Tuesday.

Taking part in a workshop on ‘Recovery of country’s tourism after the earthquake’ organized jointly by the Institute of Foreign Affairs and Nepal Tourism Board today, Minister for Foreign Affairs Mahendra Bahadur Pandey said various tourist destinations in the country are safe for visit despite the impact of the April disaster on tourism sector.
Country’s tourism sector was not devastated by the disaster as reported by some media, he said, adding, “Many cultural and religious sites here are eagerly waiting to welcome guests.” He expressed his hope that domestic tourism sector would be back to a previous status soon.

Minister for Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation Kripasur Sherpa said over 80 per cent tourist destinations in the country are safe even after the disaster and this message should be disseminated globally. Out of 35 major trekking routes here, the quake inflicted damages on only two routes. Tourist destinations in some 11 districts suffered earthquake damages, he added.

Executive Director of the Institute, Dr Rishi Raj Adhikari, expressed the belief that the tourism sector would return to its previous condition gradually if different organizations, working in the field of tourism, and media bring the reality of the tourism sector into light.

Similarly, Chairman of the Nepal Tourist Guide Association, Hareram Baral, said that different programs related to tourism should be forwarded with top priority soon at the initiatives of tourism-related organizations as there would be negative impact among tourists visiting Nepal due to negative message after the earthquake.

Baral said, “Tourism is an essential business for the economic development of the country and positive initiatives of all is necessary to bring the tourism sector affected after earthquake into previous condition.”

Foundation member Dr Ganesh Gurung said that the tourism sector was affected till 143 days after the earthquake.

Likewise, General Secretary of the Nepal Mountaineers Association, Thakur Raj Pandey, Market Section Chief of the Nepal Tourism Board, Ujjwala Dali and Chief Executive Officer of the Hotel Association Nepal, Prabesh Aryal, also expressed their views.

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The flydubai offers 30% off on fares to Dubai, select destinations

Flydubai launched its first network-wide sale offering customers 30% off Business and Economy Class fares to Dubai and select destinations on Tuesday.

A presser issued Tuesday states, “Customers who plan to travel between 01 October 2015 and 30 June 2016 and book before 20 September will receive 30% off.”
With a fleet of 49 modern Next-Generation Boeing 737-800 aircraft, flydubai operates over 1,600 weekly flights to more than 90 destinations in 45 countries creating a network that spans the GCC, Middle East, Africa, the Caucasus, Central Asia, Europe and the Subcontinent.

According to the statement, flydubai is dedicated to providing its customers with a better travel experience by offering greater choice and flexibility. flydubai’s Business Class offers an even more comfortable and personal flying experience while the airline’s popular and convenient Economy Class continues to give more people the opportunity to travel to more places more often for less.

“Book before 20 September and flydubai to where you want to be for 30% less,” the statement says.

downloadFlights can be purchased from flydubai’s website (flydubai.com), its Contact Centre (+971 600 54 44 45), flydubai Travel Shops or through travel partners.

REPUBLICA

Nepal’s tourism promoted in Malaysia

Sept. 04, 2015
The ‘Nepal Night, 2015’, a tourism promotion event, was organized in Kuala Lumpur of Malaysia recently. A large number of tour operators based in Malaysia took part and enquired about Nepal trekking industry in the event.

kuala-lumpur-malaysia-photos-2On the occasion, Nepal’s Ambassador to Malaysia Dr Niranjan Man Basnet said that Nepal is safe to travel and no serious damages were caused by the April 25 earthquake as published by the international media.

He said that 90 per cent part of the country is safe to travel and added that negative publicity was made by making reference to some damages caused in the capital city’s heritages.

“Nepal’s tourism entrepreneurs have offered different packages in subsidized price. China has considered Nepal as the major destination for trip. Malaysian tourists are also willing to visit Lumbini, the birth place of Lord Buddha, Pashupatinath Temple, Muktinath Temple and others,” Ambassador Basnet said.

Board of Director of Nepal Tourism Board (NTB) Tikaram Adhikari, Co-treasurer of Nepal Association of Travel and Tour Agents Jiswan Tuladhar and others were present in the ‘Nepal Night’. On the occasion, a documentary prepared by NTB by incorporating different aspects of Nepal’s tourism was also screened.
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