SINGAPORE: Faced with snaking queues at immigration, overflowing baggage carousels and expensive flight delays, Asian nations are rushing to build hundreds of new airports to cope with surging demand for air travel in the region.
From China and India to the Philippines and Indonesia, the fast-growing middle classes are looking to spend their cash by spreading their wings, leading to a boom in the Asia-Pacific region’s tourism sector.
Airlines have responded by setting up several new budget carriers and flying new routes — but many airports are unable to cope, forcing governments to either expand or simply build new airports.
“Through the next 10 years, we see more than 350 new airports in the Asia-Pacific and the investment cost will be well over $100 billion,” said Chris De Lavigne, a global vice president at business consultancy Frost & Sullivan Asia Pacific.
“China is building over 100 airports, India is building over 60 airports and Indonesia will also have to follow suit with investments in its infrastructure,” said De Lavigne, who closely tracks Asia’s aviation industry. Read the story »
KATHMANDU, JUL 30 – The final rites on the body of Buddhist spiritual leader Kunsiug Shamar Rinpoche will be performed at Raniban on the outskirts of Kathmandu Valley.
According to Ramesh Dhungel, a historian who lobbied for bringing the body of the spiritual leader from Bhutan to Kathmandu, told the Post that his the body is kept at Sarvinav Gumba in Raniban, run by the Sarvinav Institute that Rinpoche founded.
His body was brought on a Druk Air chartered flight from Thimphu to Kathmandu after a Cabinet meeting on Tuesday decided to allow it.
Thousands of his followers and disciples from across the globe have thronged Kathmandu to pay homage to Rinpoche.
In the decision process, the Cabinet also took a policy decision that Nepal can allow the last rite of any foreign dignitary in future if they so wish. The government can allow the final rites of any foreign dignitaries in the country without harming the cultural and religious harmony, read the Cabinet decision. Read the story »
KATHMANDU, JUL 31 – Sellers of bangles, beads and mehndi have been all smiles since the start of the holy month of Shrawan with devout Hindu women thronging the bazaars to buy these beauty products needed for their religious observance. Shrawan lasts from mid-July to mid-August.
Kathmandu’s swanky shopping malls and traditional markets like Asan, Indra Chowk and Makhan Galli are abuzz with shoppers checking out the latest products on offer.
According to traders, bangles and glass beads worth Rs 300 million are sold annually in Nepal, and the month of Shrawan alone accounts for 25 percent of the total sales. The bangles sold in the local markets are imported from India, Pakistan and Bangladesh while the beads come from the Czech Republic.
“I am selling bangles worth Rs 12,000 daily since the last two weeks compared to Rs 7,000 to Rs 8,000 on normal days,” said Swaraj Bhakta Shrestha, a retailer of bangles at Chokhachhe Galli, Indra Chowk. Read the story »
KATHMANDU, JUL 30 – The government’s decision to increase entry fees for cycles at the popular trail of Shivapuri- Nagarjun National Park has discouraged hundreds of mountain bikers. As environmentalists have been making efforts to encourage the use of cycles to develop Kathmandu as a “cycle city”, such government decision, cyclists say, is detrimental to the recently evolved cycling culture in the Valley.
As per the updated fee, mountain bikes will be charged with Rs 1,000 per entry/per day whereas motorbikes will be charged with Rs 30 and cars, jeeps and microbuses with Rs 300. An avid cyclist, Sailendra Dongol, also involved with Kathmandu Cycle City said that such move from the government would discourage cycling. ”To some extent, the government may be trying to exclude cyclists from entering the park.”
“We have been organising meetings to discuss the fee hike. We plan to send a formal letter to the concerned authorities urging them to consider the price hike,” said Dongol. Read the story »
KATHMANDU, July 30: At a time when many Nepali films are being shot in foreign lands, Nepal´s own natural beauty and rich cultural heritage have been attracting many foreign film and documentary makers to do their shooting here. Not only that, various television commercials (TVC) have also been shot in Nepal, one of which is for Volkswagen, the famous German car brand.
On May 27 this year, the TVC for Volkswagen´s New Tiguan was shot in Nepal. The 59-second commercial was shot in Kathmandu, Lalitpur and Bhaktapur. The advertisement is in Chinese.
The government of Nepal has been earning good money from the foreign films, documentaries and commercials shot here. Last fiscal year alone the government earned Rs 3.17 million from film shootings carried out in various places in Nepal, as per records at the Ministry of Information and Communications (MoIC).
The government charges Rs 15,000 for a film shot in any place in Nepal other than upper Mustang and upper Dolpa. It charges $5,000 extra for a film shot in either of these two areas. Read the story »
KATHMANDU, JUL 30 – On the day of Janai Purnima, August 10, the settlements of Lower Mustang will wake up to the boisterous festivities of Yartung Mela. And as in previous years, the residents are all set to welcome visitors from near and far to enjoy the scenic beauty of the hidden valley and participate in an age-old ritual.
Regarded as one of the major festivals in Lower Mustang, Yartung Mela is celebrated primarily by the Thakali people of the Mustang region, to mark the end of the harvest season. The three-day celebration sees enthusiastic participation by the locals, who take part in various activities like horse racing, dancing and singing—all accompanied by liberal amounts of sumptuous food and drinks. Read the story »
Romantic getaways often mean candlelit dinners, long walks on the beach, and pampering accommodations. But some destinations boast their own romantic allure—in places like Paris, Bali, and San Sebastian, there’s just something in the air. From the cherry blossom-lined streets of Kyoto to sensual tango dancing in Buenos Aires, these are our picks for the world’s 15 most romantic getaways – by Emily Wasserman
1. Bali, Indonesia:
Bali is not just a pretty face: While the island’s picturesque scenery attracts visitors from around the world, its unique culture and tradition keeps them coming back for more. Watch the sunset over clear blue water in Sanur, a popular beach destination. An iconic attraction, Tanah Lot, is a 15th-century temple that juts out of the ocean on a small rock formation. Don’t miss the five waterfalls between Bedugul and Singaraja: Gitgit is the farthest down the mountain, and visitors can climb 150 steps to take in stunning cascading falls.
To escape the crowds at Bali’s southern beaches, visit Echo Beach in Seminyak. The secluded stretch of sand is located below a series of outcrops, and often features a hazy, dream-like mist. Read the story »
KATHMANDU, JUL 30 – The Trekking Agencies Association of Nepal (Taan) has resumed lobbying for a ban on solo or free independent trekkers due to safety concerns, and this time the government has taken kindly to its proposal.
Taan President Ramesh Dhamala said they planned to bar trekkers from setting off into the mountains without guides or porters by the beginning of 2015.
“We have requested the government to enforce the system, and it has agreed to our proposal in principle,” he said. The provision will ensure tourist safety and also stop agencies that have been operating illegally, he added. An estimated 40 percent of the total tourist arrivals to Nepal go walking in the Himalayan foothills for sightseeing.
Taan had proposed prohibiting trekking without guides or porters to the high-level committee formed to restructure the Nepal Tourism Board and manage the country’s tourism industry.
“We have been discussing the proposal of the private sector, and the government has taken it as a positive move,” said Madhusudan Burlakoti, chief of the Industry Division of the Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation. Read the story »
KATHMANDU: Government officials have underlined the need to carry out proactive measures to double the tiger population by 2022.
In 2010, Nepal had signed the ‘St Petersburg Declaration on Tiger Conservation’ to express commitment to double the number of wild tigers from 121 to 250 by 2022. Nepal marked the Global Tiger Day by organising an awareness-raising programme in the capital today. It also declared Banke National Park, a new protected area, to provide additional tiger habitat and contribute to the national effort.
According to a report titled Status of Tigers and Pray in Nepal, 2013, the total tiger population in Nepal was estimated to have increased from 121 in 2010 to 198 in 2013.
Of the total tigers, 120 are in Chitwan National Park, 50 in Bardiya National Park, 17 in Sukla Phanta Wildlife Reserve, seven in Parsa Wildlife Reserve and four in Banke National Park. Read the story »
POKHARA, July 29: Nearly two dozen hotels started operation in Pokhara in the past year.
Tourism entrepreneurs have been increasing investment in the hospitality sector as tourist arrivals to lake city continue to post healthy rise.
According to Tourism Office, Pokhara, 23 new hotels have been opened in Pokhara in the past year with the investment of around Rs 300 million. These hotels have a total of 300 rooms.
Bharat Raj Parajuli, vice president of Paschimanchal Hotel Association Pokhara (PHAP), investors are getting attracted to Pokhara’s hospitality sector as the number of tourists in the city is increasing with every passing year.
Around 400 hotels are associated with PHAP. There are around 7,000 rooms with 14,000 beds in these hotels.
According to conservative estimate, around Rs 75 billion have been invested in hotels of Pokhara. Read the story »
KATHMANDU, 28 July: The state-owned Nepal Airlines Corporation (NAC) will have five additional aircraft by the end of coming October and a total of 13 aircraft by April next year ready for operational flights.
The corporation has already received a MA60 aircraft in grant from the Chinese government while another Y12E aircraft is reported to be on its way.
The arrival of one of the Y12E aircraft was stalled due to the delay in arrival of Chinese Instructor Pilot (IP) supposed to instruct Nepali pilots to become Instructor Pilots, said NAC Managing Director Madan Kharel.
“The Y12E aircraft will arrive within the next two weeks,” said Kharel.
By September this year NAC will receive one more MA60 aircraft and three other Y12E aircraft by the end of October.
MA60 with 56 seats will make flights on trunk routes from Kathmandu to major cities of Nepal. The Y12E aircraft with 18 seats will operate flights in STOL Fields i.e. to rural areas with narrow runway strips. Read the story »
KATHMANDU, JUL 29 – Eid ul-Fitr is being observed with gaiety and gusto across the country. The government has declared a public holiday today on the occasion of Eid-ul-Fitr, the biggest festival of the Muslim community.
Eid celebrations mark an end to the month-long fast of Ramadan. The month, the most rigorous period of the Islamic lunar year, is when Muslims observe Roza (fasting)—abstaining from taking food, water and all other physical needs from sunrise to sunset. It is marked with the breaking of the fast and enjoying of various delicacies with relatives and friends.
They fast over the month from dawn to dusk in the belief that they would thus ascend to heaven and their sins would be cleansed. During the fasting month, some Muslims do not even watch television or listen to music after the daily fast.
Ever since the country was declared secular in 2008, the government has been declaring public holidays on both Eid-ul-Fitr and Eid-Al-Adha (Bakr Eid), the second biggest festival of the community celebrated in November.
The Ministry of Home Affairs issued a notice on Monday informing about the government’s decision to declare public holiday on Tuesday. Prime Minister Sushil Koirala extended his best wishes to the Muslim community for their progress, happiness and prosperity on the occasion. The PM said the festival would help strengthen religious harmony in the country.