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U.S lifts travel restrictions to Nepal along with U.K, N.Z and China

As the situation in Nepal is going back to normal, motivating news for travel industry once again makes the headlines. United States released a statement on Tuesday, March 1st that cancelled its Travel Warning for Nepal.

The news is taken as a great relief to the country’s weather-beaten tourism industry.

“The Travel Warning was issued for Nepal on October 8, 2015, and reflected geological instability following the Gorkha Earthquake and the monsoon season, unrest in the Terai, and country-wide fuel shortages.  Because conditions have changed, the Travel Warning was cancelled effective February 29, 2016.” – U.S Embassy, Kathmandu.

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‘Plan to purchase 22 airliners in five years’

Minister for Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation Bhim Acharya has said the government has a plan of purchasing 22 aircrafts within the next five years.

Taking part in a programme organised at Bidur-based CPN (UML) party district office today, Minister Acharya stated the government has a plan of purchasing seven large aircrafts for international flights and 15 for domestic flights within the five years.

He was here in course of paying homage at the Shreemad Bhagawat Nawaha Mahayagya, a nine-day religious ceremony, organised with a view to promoting Betrawati, the religious site in the district.

International airports are necessary to develop and promote country’s tourism business, he said, adding that the construction of three new international airports and upgrade of old is the priority of the government and is working accordingly.

Minister Acharya who is also the UML politburo member urged party members to choose a competent leadership in the upcoming party general convention. He urged them not to see face of candidates and but see their capability while choosing the leadership for the next five years. He underlined the need of implementing the People’s Multiparty Democracy along with amendments.

source: gorkhapatraonline.com, 08 April 2014

Call for effective promotion of Millennium Trek

Experts have underlined the need to develop necessary infrastructures along the Millennium Trek and effectively promote it in national and international arena.

Speaking at a seminar on ‘Sustainable Tourism Development in Millennium Trek’ organized jointly by Maitri Buddha Tamu Samaj, Dhoreli Samaj and Millennium Trek Development and Management Committee, they said the trail was still in shadow despite having immense potential for tourism development.

Trekking Agencies’ Association of Nepal (TAAN) is the patron of the trail which was inaugurated in 2000.

Keshav Pandey, senior vice president of TAAN, said there is a need to promote the trail effectively in international markets. “I am hopeful that the seminar will come up with necessary suggestions for infrastructure development and promotion of trail,” he said, adding that TAAN would help prepare necessary promotional collaterals for effective promotion of the trail.

Presenting his working paper, Dambar KC, former president of TAAN Pokhara Chapter, apprised the participants of the work done so far in the trail. He also presented SWOT (strength, weakness, opportunity and threat) analysis of the trek.

Millennium Trek begins from Dhorfirdi in Tanahun district and ends in Majhkot of Syangja district. Altitude in the trail ranges from 420 to 1709 meters. There are various view points along the trek that promises views of different mountains peak on the north. While on the trek, visitors can enjoy various cultural activities like Ghatu, Sorathi, Kauda, Salaijo, Jhora, Dhado Bhaka and Krishna Charitra, among others. The entire trek can be completed in six days.

Leela Bahadur Baniya, senior manager of Nepal Tourism Board (NTB) also presented a working paper on ‘Nepal’s Tourism Policy and Tourism Planning Strategy’.

Commenting on the working paper, Dr Ganesh Gurung, former member of National Planning Commission (NPC), said the trail management committee should first identify their target groups and devise promotional programs accordingly. “You should also be clear about your unique selling point in a bid to compete with other similar trails across the country,” he added.

Lawmakers from Tanahun, Kaski and Syanja districts, local stakeholders, office-bearers and executive committee members of TAAN, and media persons, among others were present in the program.

source: TAAN, 06 April 2014

Han unveils 10-pt plan to boost tourism

The new executive committee of Hotel Association Nepal (Han) on Friday unveiled a 10-point declaration aimed at streamlining the country’s tourism industry.

Han said that it would coordinate with the Tourism Ministry, Nepal Tourism Board and other government agencies to achieve the government-launched Vision 2020 that has envisioned attracting 2 million tourists by 2020.

“We have planned to establish a hospitality training centre to enhance hospitality services as per international standards,” said Han’s newly-elected President BK Shrestha. Han’s other plans include coordinating with all the tourism institutions and stakeholders to aggressively promote Nepal in the international market.

Shrestha said that Han would facilitate the capacity upgradation of the country’s hotels by exchanging know-how with international hotels and chains. Urging needed changes in the government’s policy and gradually removing Nepal’s image as being among the cheapest destinations are among the priorities envisaged by Han. “Besides, we will be pressing the government for the immediate construction of a second international airport in Bara, Nijgadh,” added Shrestha.

source: ekantipur, 05 April 2014

NTB eyes historic palaces, ponds for tourism sites

The Nepal Tourism Board (NTB) said that it would be transcending its traditional role of promoting and marketing Nepal by formulating a five-year tourism plan.

Among the different proposed projects, it is considering taking over palaces and residences of historical importance, particularly those illustrating the decadence of the Rana regime, and lease them out to private companies in a bid to promote tourism.

The cash-rich NTB said on Sunday that it would soon be launching the tourism plan under which it proposes to convert isolated and abandoned heritage buildings into commercially viable tourism products.

Historically important palaces like Rani Mahal in Palpa, Ratna Mandir in Pokhara and Diyalo Bungalow in Bharatpur, which are owned by the government, will be opened to tourism for the development of Nepal’s tourism industry, said Subash Nirola, officiating chief executive officer of the NTB, speaking at an interaction with tourism stakeholders on Sunday.

In addition, the NTB plans to utilize land owned by the government to build an international standard conference centre to promote MICE tourism. Similarly, wetlands across the country will be used as tourism products, and the NTB has taken the necessary steps in this regard, he said.

“We have requested the government to transfer the ownership of Kamal Pokhari and Rani Pokhari, which are of great historical and cultural importance, to NTB which could be potential products to promote Nepal’s tourism. The NTB will inject funds for the conservation and preservation of these ponds which are in a dire state at present.”

There are several historic buildings in Kathmandu and elsewhere in the country, and they can be key tourist attractions if they are properly promoted and marketed, he said. For example, restored palaces like Baber Mahal Revisited, Hotel Shanker and Garden of Dreams, among others, have become popular among visitors, and this success can be replicated in other historic buildings that are isolated due to lack of resources.

As the government has permitted the NTB to double its tourism service fee from tourists departing from the Tribhuvan International Airport to Rs 1,000 from March 1, the NTB’s annual budget is expected to balloon to Rs 1.21 billion.

“We have plenty of resources but limited programmes,” said Nirola. The board said that it plans to utilize 60 percent of its budget for the promotion of Nepal in the global arena and the rest on domestic tourism promotion and its administration costs. The board said that its promotion would be focused on the two next-door neighbours India and China while it would be promoting Nepal through international channels like BBC, CNN, National Geographic and European television as part of its promotional strategy.

source: The Kathmandu Post, 24 Mar 2014

Tourism board seeks long-term strategy

To ensure planned and strategic development of the tourism sector in Nepal, Nepal Tourism Board (NTB) plans to introduce a five-year tourism plan from the coming fiscal year.

“To cope with future challenges in the tourism sector, a five-year plan is a must. The one-year plans that we have had since long have been ineffective in addressing the growing challenges of the sector as competition is increasing,” said acting CEO of NTB Subash Nirola. He also said that before drafting the plan, the board will acquire more information regarding the proposed long-term plan so that it is able to address all the areas related to tourism in the country.

In his presentation regarding the proposed five-year plan, Nirola shed light on the effective promotion of the sector. For the global marketing of Nepali tourism, the board has proposed to organise an advertisement campaign on BBC, CNN, and Chinese and Indian television channels. In order to attract more Indian and Chinese tourists in the country, the long-term plan focuses on the establishment of international offices in the respective countries.

Regarding this, stakeholders at the programme asked the board to lay emphasis on those Indian states — Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, West Bengal, and Sikkim — that border Nepal. Focus should also be given to the Tibetan region that borders the country, they said.

NTB also plans to have strong promotional activities in BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) nations. It is also proposing aggressive marketing by developing a website so that people across the globe can access information relating to tourism in Nepal.

The ambitious plan tries to promote domestic tourism of the country culturally, religiously, agriculturally and geographically. It is focused on developing festival tourism, religious tourism, agricultural tourism, village tourism and city tourism, among others. The proposed five-year plan aims to levy tourism service fee on domestic tourists too.

To achieve proposed plan, NTB has laid prime emphasis on political stability. Similarly, it gives equal weight to the development of infrastructure, purchase of aircraft for the national flag carrier, investment in the hospitality sector, and tourist security, among others. Nirola also said that to make the plan successful the private sector has a great role to play.

source: Himalayan Times, 23 Mar 2014