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Free Wi-Fi for tourists at Hanumandhoka

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

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