March 7, 2014
The 22nd Edition of Guangzhou International Travel Fair (GITF) 2014 completed after 3 days’ interactions and business dealings amongst buyers and sellers which had started from 27 February to 1 March 2014 at China Import & Export Fair Complex, Guangzhou, China. “The GITF 2014, a significant platform of communication and cooperation in tourism industry.” says the organizer Hannover Milano Fairs China Ltd. In fact, the GITF is an influential Asia-Pacific Region’s travel fair over the last few years.
750 exhibitors from China and abroad showcased their varieties of tourism products and services, in the 22,000 square meter exhibition area. 40 countries and the regions attended the fair, which is 62% more than last year in the case of overseas participation.
The GITF has been important to Nepal, firstly, the Chinese visitors can directly board on a flight from Guangzhou to Kathmandu. Alternatively, they also can take flight from Hong Kong, which is merely 2 hours train travel from Guangzhou. Secondly, China is spear-heading with 98 million outbound figures in 2013 globally and US$ 120 billion spending, China Tourism Academy predicted. China stood in second place after India in 2012 with the arrival figure of 85,739 to Nepal and the figure is expected to surge up to 1 million in 2013.
The buyers were interested in natural sight-seeing, trekking and the general public inquired on issues of connectivity, travel documents and visa processing. Diamond Jubilee Celebration of the first ascent on Mt. Everest and Lumbini circuit were informed as the products and activities. Nepal also featured its mixed package of nature, culture and adventure segments during the fair under the umbrella of Nepal Tourism Board (NTB) along with six private tourism companies. NTB was represented by Mr. Dhruba Rai, Sr. Manager and Mr. Samir Bajracharya, Asst. Manager – In charge. The private participants were; Buddha Air, Himalayan Rejoice Tours & Adventure, Nepal Dream Travel Services, S&T Holidays Pvt. Ltd., My Nepal Adventure Tours & Travels and Scenic Mountain Travels & Tours.
source: NTB, 07 Mar 2014
March 7, 2014
Buddhist sites in Odisha are set for a facelift. In a bid to improve Buddhist tourism, the Ministry of Tourism has identified integrated tourism circuits including that in Odisha.
Dhauli, Ratnagiri, Lalitgiri, Udaygiri, Langudi and Khandagiri are in the Buddhist heritage circuit that the Ministry plans to develop in association with the Tourism Department, Government of Odisha. The circuit has been identified for tourists from places like China, Japan, Korea, Thailand and South Asian countries.
So far, Buddhist sites in Odisha had been in the shadow of the popular Puri-Konark Hindu pilgrimage tourism. Though Odisha has a lot to offer as far as Buddhist heritage is concerned, the number of tourist inflow to the sites has been low over the years. Historians and Buddhist experts are of the opinion that the State’s Buddhist potential does not figure on national and international tourism maps.
Although Dhauli, Ratnagiri, Lalitgiri, Udaygiri, Langudi and Khandagiri are well connected by road, they severely lack in infrastructure. The Ministry along with the Tourism Department aims at setting up tourism amenities, hotel facilities and infrastructure.
Sources in the Ministry said while road connectivity will be improved, hotel and lodging will be set up in these areas under a long term plan. Though a budget is yet to be worked upon, the Ministry plans to set up committees with members from the State Tourism Department to look into the work.
In fact, shelters and quality eating joints are scarce at majority of these sites. While some years back, a private group came up with a multi-cuisine restaurant at Ratnagiri, where travellers can also rest at night, the model has not been replicated elsewhere.
Amiya Pattnaik, former vice-chancellor of Utkal University of Culture, said the State is home to 20 Buddhist sites which are ‘very important’. “Ratnagiri can be compared with Nalanda and can even compete with Bodh Gaya. Ancient Buddhist documents indicate that Buddha Kesha (hair relics) were brought to the State by two rich traders, Tapassu and Ballika. Later, the Buddha’s teeth were also believed to have been brought to the State,” he said.
There are over 324 Buddhist sites in Odisha, out of which 108 sites have remains of Buddhist stupas, chaityas or monastic complexes. Even as thousands of tourists from East Asia, Southeast Asia and Nepal visit Bodh Gaya in Bihar every year, a limited number of them come to Odisha.
According to reports of the Tourism Department, of 65,522 foreign tourists who visited Odisha in 2012-13 financial year, only a handful came to the Diamond Triangle comprising Ratnagiri, Udayagiri and Lalitagiri, having the largest concentration of Buddhist remains.
source: The New Indian Express, 07 Mar 2014
March 7, 2014
An alternative trekking trail for the Beni-Darbang section of Round Dhaulagiri trekking route has been identified.
The new trail was explored as the existing Beni-Singa-Tatopani-Babiyachaur-Darbang trail became of new use due to construction of motor roads.
The new trail starts from Beni and progresses through Pachhai, Dholthan, Jagannath, Purnagaun and Darbang.
Local Development Officer of Myagdi Bishnu Prasad Sharma said the new trail was identified with the funding of District Development Committee, Myagdi. He said the survey team has proposed for a budget of Rs 10 million to develop necessary infrastructures along the new trail.
The new trail can be completed in two days. It meets the Round Dhaulagiri Trekking Route at Bim Village Development COmmittee (VDC).
The new trail passes through important historical and religious sites like Dholthan and Jangannath, and viewpoints like Todke.
The DDC Myagdi took the initiative to explore new trail after trekkers started moving to other trekking areas in the country due to movement of vehicles as well as pollution on the existing Beni-Darbang section.
Meanwhile, the DDC Myagdi has set aside Rs 500,000 to develop infrastructures on Todke-Malika section of the new trail.
source: TAAN, 06 Mar 2014
March 7, 2014
The Chitwan National Park has received an international award in recognition to its efforts for rhino conservation. The park had taken special measures to protect the one-horned rhino from poaching for the last few years.
The World Wildlife Fund (WWF) has highly appreciated the measures adopted by the Park Administration to control rhino poaching, the Park Administration informed the journalists in Chitwan Thursday.
Yolanda Kakabadse, International President of the WWF, herself arrived in Chitwan and presented the award, said Tikaram Paudel, Spokesperson and Assistant Conservation Officer of the Park.
Similarly, the NA personnel, who are working in wildlife conservation in the Bardiya National Park, the Buffer Zone Management Committee of the Chitwan National Park, and National Trust for Nature Conservation were also awarded for succeeding to mark the year as a zero poaching period, said, Bishnu Thapaliya, Assistant Conservation Officer of the Park. The Investigation bureau of Nepal Police was also honored with the award.
The Chitwan National Park had marked 2011, too, as the zero poaching year, however, in the later two years, two rhinos were poached.
The Park released a data showing no rhinos were killed in the last 365 days beginning from February 16, 2013, though 10 of them died due to natural causes.
The Chitwan National Park is a special tourism destination to the domestic and foreign visitors because of the rhinos, tigers, wild elephants and crocodiles along with other animals and birds.
The Chitwan National Park alone has a total of 503 one-horned rhinos which is an endangered wild animal species in the world.
source: nepalnews.com, 06 Mar 2014
March 7, 2014
The Lumbini International Media and Peace Conference organized by the Asia Journalists Association (AJA) begins in Lumbini, the birth place of Lord Buddha on Friday.
The three-day conference has been organized with the objective of promoting and publicizing Buddha´s birth place Lumbini in the global arena.
Senior journalists from the different countries of Asia are taking part in the conference.
On the occasion, current situation of press in Asia and strategy of promoting Lumbini will be discussed and Lumbini Declaration will be issued, organizers said.
Minister of Information and Communications Dr Minendra Rijal is scheduled to inaugurate the conference this afternoon.
The conference is expected to help to promote and publicize the historical, cultural and religious aspects of Lumbini in the global arena, said Bishnu Nishthuri, Chair of the Association´s, Nepal chapter.
The conference aims to cover Lumbini in international media, urging the recognized international organizations to conduct their seminars and conferences in Nepal and basically establishing the Lumbini as a birth place of Lord Buddha, organizers said.
source: republica, 07 Mar 2014
March 7, 2014
Tibet Railway, the world’s highest railway, will reach the residence of the Panchen Lama at Xigaze in Tibet, state-run Xinhua news agency said, emphasising on its political significance.
The Headquarters of China-backed 11th Panchen Lama Gyaincain Norbu is based at Xigaze, also known as Shigatse, located close to the Sikkim border.
The 24-year-old Lama stays in Beijing as he holds a top position in China Buddhist Association.
The seat of Panchan Lama was regarded the second most revered in Tibet after the Dalai Lama. China gives a high-profile projection to Panchan Lama among the Tibetans.
The young Lama was nominated to national advisory body, the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference.
The Lhasa-Xigaze Railway which has an overall length of 253 km will be ready by October this year, Xinhua said.
The trains will run at a maximum speed of 120 km per hour, representing a run time of about two hours from the regional capital Lhasa to the region’s second city.
All subgrade earthworks, bridges, culverts, tunnels and over 93 % of the track have been completed.
Currently it takes five hours by road to reach Shigatse from Lhasa.
Both cities are sacred for Tibetan Buddhists with important religious centers such as the Potala Palace, Tashihunpo Monastery and Jokhang Monastery.
“Besides saving time, the railway will be much more safe.
The current road is frequently troubled by seasonal natural disasters,” said a construction foreman in the railway.
Local residents and tourists will have a smooth trip by rail, unimpeded by landslides in summer and ice in the winter, the worker told Xinhua.
The plateau railway is a particularly problematic construction with difficulties including an oxygen-poor environment, a delicate ecosystem, wildlife migrations and many complex environmental issues.
The 1,956 km long Qinghai-Tibet Railway began service in July 2006 and has positively impacted on Tibet’s tourism, hospitality and manufacturing sectors.
China has built extensive network of transport infrastructure in Tibet raising concern in India as it provided strategic advantage to Beijing to move its troops to the borders fast.
Besides well laid highways and rail networks, China built five ‘airports’ in the Himalayan region so far. The development prompted India to initiate road development along the over 4000 km disputed border area.
source: Hindustan Times, 06 Mar 2014
March 6, 2014
An alternative route has been identified on the Beni-Darbang road section along the Round Dhaulagiri trekking route.
Preparation is on to bring into operation a new trekking route after the old one (from headquarters Beni to Darbang via Singa Tatopani, Babiyahcaur) was displaced with the construction of road.
The survey of the trekking route from Beni to Bim via Pachhai of Pulchaur VDC, Jagannath, Todke and Darbang has recently completed, said Local Development Officer of Myagdi, Bishnu Prasad Sharma.
source: gorkhapatraonline, 05 Mar 2014
March 6, 2014
In a move to further promote tourism, Kathmandu Metropolitan City (KMC) office is all set to provide free Wi-Fi to foreign tourists visiting Hanuman Dhoka Durbar Square area, Basantapur.
If everything goes as planned, KMC will start proving free internet access to tourists visiting the historically and archeologically significant palace area from the upcoming week, according to Hanuman Dhoka Durbar Area Conservation Program Office (HDACPO) under KMC.
“Tourists visiting the heritage site can now instantly upload their photos to social networking sites and share them with the world. We are offering free internet to tourists visiting the heritage area from next week,” said Hari Kumar Shrestha, chief of HDACPO. It is probably the first time in the country that free internet is being installed for foreign tourists visiting an archeological site.
The Durbar Square has been included in UNESCO´s World Heritage Sites list.
In order to provide free Wi-Fi, KMC has installed six Wireless routers at different points within the heritage site, in collaboration with Nepal Telecom.
According to Shrestha, Wireless routers have been set up at Damkal House, Kasthamandap, Bhimisen Dabali, Mapal and Makha. As many as 100 tourists can use the internet service at a given time.
“The internet service to be provided to tourists is really fast. They can enjoy the internet facility while moving about Durbar Square,” said the KMC official.
The free Internet is being installed at the heritage site with the internal resources of KMC. “We have allocated Rs. 160,000 for the project. We will pay Rs. 60,000 monthly to Nepal Telecom for using the Wi-Fi facility,” he informed.
KMC will provide a Wi-Fi password to tourists along with their entrance tickets at all the entry points to the palace area. There are five entrance points — at Jhochhen (Freak Street), Makhan, Juddha Salik, Pyafal and Maru, and the authorities charge Rs. 150 per head for tourists from SAARC countries and Rs. 750 for those from other countries.
Mukunda Raj Acharya, a cultural expert, believes that the free internet for tourists will help popularize the UNESCO world heritage site.
“Tourist guides do not always provide correct information about different monuments inside the heritage area. Now, tourists can immediately check the internet for additional information and verify any facts,” he said.
Shrestha of HDACPO said KMC has decided to provide free internet for tourists so they can take advantage of the multimedia electronic guide which is to become available in the coming months.
Over 200,000 foreign tourists visit the heritage site annually, according to KMC.
source: republica, 06 Mar 2014