April 11, 2014
The government is mulling Pokhara as the venue for the upcoming SAARC Summit while keeping the option of Kathmandu wide open.
A Rapid Appraisal Team (RAT) comprising five officials of Foreign, Home and Urban Development ministries has been studying a possible venue for the last two weeks. The RAT led by Foreign Ministry Joint Secretary Prakash Subedi is currently in Pokhara.
Chief Secretary Lila Mani Paudel had proposed that an alternative venue be searched for the Summit at a high-level coordination committee meeting last month. Pokhara is thus being considered as the only option given its beautiful location, and the fact that there are two five stars hotels — Grande and Fulbari Resort — there.
The Cabinet has already decided to hold 18th SAARC Summit from November 9-14, a date that needs to be endorsed by other members — Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka.
Talking to THT at his office today, Chief Secretary Paudel said there were four reasons for choosing Pokhara. He said, “First, it is a beautiful tourist destination and would be a good retreat for all participating VVIPs and VIPs. Second, it would generate enthusiasm among locals to upgrade infrastructure. Third, it would be easy to manage traffic and assure security. And lastly, all things can be better managed in Pokhara than in Kathmandu.” he added, that the only question was if there was enough infrastructure and physical facilities as we can’t construct new structures due to time constraints.”
Nepal so far has hosted two Summits— 3rd Summit in November 1987 and 11th Summit in January 2002. The first one was held in Academy Hall and another one is in International Conference Centre, New Baneshwor, which has been occupied by Constituent Assembly for almost seven years.
Paudel made it clear that the ICC couldn’t be a venue for the upcoming Summit even if it is held in Kathmandu. “If we organise the Summit there, we need to evacuate it for three months for renovation. This is not possible.”
The four possible venues in Kathmandu are: Nepal Academy, City Hall, Nepal Army Officer’s Club and Singha Durbar Gallery Baithak. Paudel, however, said the Summit plan for Pokhara is not linked to occupancy of ICC.
Maldives had hosted the 17th Summit in a small island of Addu Atoll in November 2011. “If Addu can be a venue for regional summit, why not Pokhara?” said a Foreign Ministry officer. A source said RAT would report its findings within a couple of days and the government would take a final decision.
Why Lake City?
• It’d be a good retreat for participants
• It’d encourage locals to upgrade infrastructure
• Easy to manage security and traffic
• Everything can be better managed than in Kathmandu
source: Himalayan Times, 10 April 2014
April 7, 2014
Tourism, Culture and Food Festival is going to be held at the banks of Fewa Lake, Basundhara Park from 11 to 15 April, 2014.
This is the 11th festival on the occasion of Nepali New Year that is being organized by Western Regional Hotel Association.
At a press meet organized in the capital today, Chairman of the Western Regional Hotel Association Hari Sharma, said 15 percent discount will be given in lodging to internal tourists and discount will be decided for food and travel also.
One can enjoy songs, cultural program, helicopter view, among others in the festival, said Festival Convener Bharat Raj Parajuli.
source: NTB, 07 April 2014
March 30, 2014
Tourism, Culture and Food Festival is going to be held at the banks of Fewa Lake, Basundhara Park from 11 to 15 April, 2014.
This is the 11th festival on the occasion of Nepali New Year that is being organised by Western Regional Hotel Association.
At a press meet organised in the capital today, Chairman of the Western Regional Hotel Association Hari Sharma, said 15 percent discount will be given in lodging to internal tourists and discount will be decided for food and travel also.
One can enjoy songs, cultural programme, helicopter view, among others in the festival, said Festival Convener Bharat Raj Parajuli.
source: nepalnews.com, 28 Mar 2014
March 6, 2014
Encouraged by swelling investment prospects, hoteliers here have been diversifying their investment portfolio to other part of the country like Chitwan, Lumbini and Mustang more aggressively.
Sauraha, Chitwan-the heart of Nepal’s wildlife safari tourism-has become one of the potential areas of investment for hoteliers of Pokhara.
The Hotel Landmark Pokhara is constructing a luxury property the Hotel Landmark Forest Park resort at Baghmara in Chitwan with an outlay of Rs 200 million. The resort is spread over an area of 20 ropanis.
“Our move to diversify investment in Chitwan is due to growing business prospects there,” said CN Pandey, chief executive of the Hotel Landmark.
“Growing demand in the hospitality sector due to improved tourism activities has encouraged us to diversify our portfolios to other areas,” Pandey said, adding that plans are also afoot to develop another property in Lumbini.
A three-star property Hotel Barahi has constructed a luxury resort-Barahi Jungle Lodge-in Meghauli, Chitwan with an investment of Rs 260 million.
“We have been engaged in the hospitality sector for many years, and now we are expanding our brand in major tourist cities,” said Biplav Poudel, proprietor of the Barahi Hotel. “We see many opportunities outside Pokhara too.” Poudel said that they were also planning to construct another hotel in Lumbini in the near future.
Likewise, another entrepreneur Suman Shrestha is constructing the Hotel Pride and Spa in Jomsom, Mustang. Shrestha said that he was investing Rs 100 million in the project.
According to travel trade entrepreneurs, more than 30 hotels are in the pipeline in Pokhara. Tourism entrepreneurs in Pokhara started expanding their infrastructure after the announcement of Nepal Tourism Year in 2011.
“Among all the tourism products, expansion of the hotel industry has thrived in Pokhara,” said tourism entrepreneur Govinda Raj Pahari. “More than a dozen hotels of Pokhara are expanding their brands outside Pokhara as hoteliers want to cash in on the opportunities elsewhere too.” Moreover, the lake city is also attracting a large number of investors. As of now, Pokhara has around 600 small and big hotels and lodges.
The city boasts several tourism products including nine lakes including Phewa and Begnas, Barahi Temple in the middle of Phewa Lake, World Peace Stupa, Matepani Monastery, Bhadrakali and Bindyabashini temples, Patale stream, Sarangkot, Mahendra Cave and a regional museum. The International Mountain Museum and Kahun Tower are other tourist attractions.
source: ekantipur, 06 Mar 2014
March 2, 2014
The Fifteenth Open Paragliding Championship is scheduled to begin on Friday in Pokhara. The championship will conclude in 5 March.
Over 150 paragliders from 22 countries are participating in the Championship. The annual event, organised by Nepal Airsport Association, is a category 2 championship under Fédération Aéronautique Internationale (FAI), the World Air Sports Federation.
“We have been holding this event to promote Nepal’s paragliding internationally,” says Rajesh Bomjan. “We are also preparing to host the Pre-World Cup 2015 in Pokhara.”
The paragliders will take off from Sarangkot hill and land at Khahare, on the banks of the Phewa Lake.
source: nepalnews.com, 28 Feb 2014
February 26, 2014
Euro III model buses have started plying Pokhara roads from today.
Pokhara Bus Entrepreneur’s Committee has brought as many as 17 environment-friendly Euro III mode buses into operation in the first phase.
Maha Prasad Subedi, chairman of Pokhara Bus Entrepreneurs’ Committee, said Global Positioning System, Closed Circuit Television and LCD TVs have been installed in the vehicles.
Chairman Subedi said the committee had imported the 30-seated buses adopting mass transport system as per the long-term policy of replacing old vehicles with the new ones. The new vehicles will drop and pick up passengers at definite stoppages. The drivers will be fully trained, disciplined and soft-spoken, he said.
For passengers’ security, hydraulic doors have been installed that will open and close at the stoppages automatically. The vehicles are green in colour.
The committee said the service of the public transport system will be upgraded to international standard in major tourist destinations of the country.
source: Himalayan Times, 25 Feb 2014
February 14, 2014
The government has decided to invest around Rs 1 billion for the construction of a biodiversity park and other infrastructures at Raniban, a forest that surrounds Phewa Lake in Pokhara.
According to Dil Bahadur Chhetri, assistant research officer at the Department of Plant Resources (DPR), the government´s plan to convert Raniban into a tourist destination will be executed in five years. “The first phase construction work has already begun. Compound walls around the forest will be built within this year.”
The bio-diversity park will have a botanical garden, picnic spots, rock garden, orchard, and aviary. He said 1,200 meters of the 3km compound will be constructed in the first phase. Likewise, an information centre, water tanks, toilets will also be built within this year.
Talking to Republica, Chhetri informed the government has already invited tender bids for first phase construction two months ago. Four companies have applied for the construction contract. One of them will be awarded the contract in a few days. The government has allocated Rs 6 million for the first phase. The government plans to spend Rs 19 million in the project next year.
Chhetri said the forest would be converted into a key tourist destination in Pokhara in five years if the government continues to allocate sufficient budget every year.
According to DPR, Raniban covers an area of 148 hectares but no infrastructure will be built in 90 hectares of the forest.
Tourism entrepreneurs say the construction of the bio-diversity park will boost tourism in Pokhara. Vice president of Western Regional Hotel Association Bharat Parajuli said the forest after completion of the project would be yet another tourist attraction.
According to studies, there are six hundred and seventy two species of plants and wildlife in the forest.
source: ekantipur, 14 Feb 2014
February 4, 2014
Pokhara has emerged as one of the preferred destinations for visitors from the northern neighbour to celebrate the Chinese New Year.
Travel trade entrepreneurs said that hotels and lodges in the lakeside city were packed due to the increased Chinese arrivals since the beginning of January.
The visitors thronged Pokhara to celebrate the Lunar New Year which fell on Jan 31. The Lunar New Year is the longest and most important holiday in the Chinese calendar.
According to tourism entrepreneurs, Pokhara has been attracting repeat Chinese visitors. Toni is one example. According to him, he visited Pokhara in 2012 and came back here with a group of 16 people in 2014.
“I have never been to any country twice,” Toni said. “The natural beauty and hospitality of Pokhara has allured me twice.”
Almost all the hotels in Pokhara are fully occupied due to the increased inflow of Chinese vacationers.
“Around 100 Chinese visitors have been staying at my hotel since the past one week,” said Bharat Sharma, proprietor of Aatithi Resort and Spa, a three-star property. “We have healthy advance bookings from Chinese visitors for the upcoming month,” Sharma said.
According to him, many new resorts have been coming into operation since the past one year, and they have been doing good business mainly due to the increased arrivals from China.
The Chinese people celebrate the Lunar New Year by holding parties, travelling and participating in recreational activities. For adventure lovers, opportunities like paragliding, ultra light and zip flying are available.
“More than 80 percent of the hotels in Pokhara have been occupied by Chinese tourists since the beginning of the month,” said Sundar Kumar Shrestha, former president of the Pokhara Tourism Council.
Rajesh Bamjan, president of the Nepal Air Sports Association, said that paragliding companies were witnessing hordes of Chinese tourists. “Around 95 percent of them enjoy the experience of flying up in the sky.”
With arrivals from the European market in decline, the swelling number of visitors from China have compensated for the drop.
Hoteliers said that Chinese tourists normally visit Pokhara in a group, and they spend well. According to the Tourism Ministry, Chinese visitors spent an average of 10.14 days in Nepal in 2011. Their average length of stay was 15.38 days in 2010.
source: ekantipur, 04 Feb 2014