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
January 29, 2014
Pokhara has been seeing a significant increment in investments in adventure tourism. Money has been pouring into sky adventure in particular as it has become a major attraction for tourists and has also helped to lengthen their stay. Investments in sky adventure activities like paragliding, ultra light flying, zipflying and bungee jumping are estimated to have reached Rs 560 million.
Meanwhile, attracted by the prospects in the sky adventure business, electronics trader Paras Gautam has opened Fishtail Ultra Light Company. With this, the number of ultra light companies in the lakeside city has reached three. “We have made an investment sensing the market potential,” said Gautam.
Another company Pokhara Ultra Light got off the ground this year. Around 18 years ago, Avia Club started offering ultra light sky adventure activities in the country. The three ultra light companies operating presently have a combined investment of Rs 140 million.
Entrepreneurs said that adventure tourism had grown mainly because of swelling arrivals encouraged by the end of the Maoist conflict and relatively stable political situation. “Investors are enthused of late, mainly due to the increase in Chinese arrivals,” said Prabin Gauchan, managing director of Avia Club.
The conversion of Pokhara into a destination for adventure tourism has increased the number of Chinese tourists here. Tourism entrepreneurs said that most of the tourists visiting Pokhara are attracted by ultra light flying, zipflying and paragliding. “Around 90 percent of the tourists who enjoy sky adventure in Pokhara are from China,” said Rajesh Bamjan, president of the Nepal Air Sports Association.
Around 15 years ago, Biru Bomjan established Nepal’s first paragliding company, Sunrise Paragliding Company. Only after 2006 did other paragliding companies appear on the scene. Their number has reached 19 in the last three to four years. According to Bomjan, the fact that sky adventure is turning into a good source of income has attracted many investors.
Meanwhile, paragliding operators said that the increased number of companies had led to congestion in the skies above Sarangkot Hill from where paragliders take off. Zipflying, which was introduced with an investment of Rs 130 million around two years ago, too has emerged as a major attraction for tourists.
Source & References
Sharma, S. 2014. Adventure sport thrills tourists. [online] 29 January. Available at: http://www.ekantipur.com/the-kathmandu-post/2014/01/28/money/adventure-sport-thrills-tourists/258659.html [Accessed: 29 Jan 2014].
January 23, 2014
The Embassy of Japan is going to oragnise a Japanese film festival in Kathmandu and Pokhara from January 24.
The festival in Kathmandu would be held at the Rastriya Nachghar for three days while the one in Pokhara would be held at the Pokhara Chamber of Commerce and Industry for one day on February 1.
Seven films with English subtitles would be screened as part of the festival. The first person coming to watch the movie would get free entry.
The festival is organised with the objective of familiarizing Nepalis about the Japanese art, culture and civilization which it is believed help strengthen ties between the two countries.
source: ekatipur, 22 Jan 2014
January 23, 2014
Singer Prakash Shrestha has described Pokhara in his famous song “phewa talko aagan ma lailai…”. There are a number of such songs and poems dedicated to the tourist hub’s natural beauty. But visitors find more than what the songs and poems describe.
Bill Benfreeze, who is from the UK, is a regular visitor to the lake city, and during his each visit, he makes sure he reaches the World Peace Stupa to enjoy the bird’s eye view of the city. “The scenery of the Himalayas, lake, city, greenery and surrounding villages from the World Peace Stupa is magnificent,” said Benfreeze, who recently arrived in the city after completing a tour to Upper Mustang. He has been visiting Pokhara each year for last four years.
Pokhara can be reached either by air (25 minutes) or by road (200 km) from the Capital city of Kathmandu.
The trend of tourists revisiting this city is on the rise. Natural beauty, cleanliness, culture, favorable weather and always welcoming Pokharelis are the major factors attracting the visitors. Events like live musical shows, discos and lok doharis are other attractions for domestic as well as foreign tourists.
“ Pokhara has always been the first destination of tourists in Nepal,” said Tika Ram Sapkota, executive member of Nepal Tourism Board. He said to maintain this top spot, there should be focus on preserving cultural and historical heritages and nature as Pokhara is a “naturally-evolved” tourist destination.
Sapkota said the number of tourists visiting Pokhara has been increasing 30-35 percent annually. In a bid to attract visitors across all seasons, tourism entrepreneurs have started joint initiatives such as Jauhai Pokhara , Chaliye Pokhara , Ropai Mahotsav, street festivals and Bhaitika Mahotsav.
With rising tourist numbers, places surrounding Pokhara are also seeing development in terms of physical infrastructure. “There is no other tourist hub in the country besides Pokhara . It has everything for tourists,” said Basu Tripathi, a tourism entrepreneur. He said the city is also a centre point to visit other tourist locations like Lumbini, Chitwan, Manakamana, Mustang, Manang, Tansen, Dolpa.
Normally, tourists first visit Pokhara and head towards other locations like Muktinath Temple of Mustang, Lo Manthang, Thorang La Pass, Tilicho Lake in Manang, Gorge of Kaligandaki River, Manakamana Temple and rhododendron forest in Ghodepani.
As part of the intergraded tourism development programme, physical infrastructure development in nearby tourist areas is also getting a boost and a number of entrepreneurs are investing in the tourism sector. Dhampus, Pothana, Ghandruk and Sikless are famous for short distance trekking, while Annapurna Base Camp, Thorang La Pass, Lo Manthang, Poonhill and Tilicho Lake are for those who like long-distance trekking. Among them, Annapurna is one of the world’s top 10 trekking routes.
Besides the Phewa Lake, trekking, and the Himalayas, there are a number of other attractions such as paragliding, zip flyer and ultra-light aircraft flight. “Adventure air sports have helped increase tourism activities in the city,” said Rajesh Bomjon, president of Nepal Air Sports Association. He said since there are no such sports available in other parts of the country, they have become a separate attraction for tourists.
Along with the growth in the number of tourists, infrastructure is being developed to accommodate them. Even the surrounding villages now have hotels and restaurants. Big tourism entrepreneurs have also started investing here.
Kathmandu’s Himalaya Hotel is building a five star hotel in Sarangkot. Suraj Vaidhya, president of the Federation of Nepalese Chambers of Commerce and Industry, and Chaudhary Group are also all set to open hotels here. Those entrepreneurs who were displaced during the decade-long Maoist insurgency are reinvesting.
Pokhara hosted its first tourist, Ekai Kawaguchi from Japan, in 1899. Now, the city attracts tourists from all around the world. The construction of the Prithivi Highway four decades ago was instrumental in boosting Pokhara ’s tourism industry.
Locals and entrepreneurs say tourism has emerged as the most favourable business in Pokhara in last one decade. Youth leader Rabindra Adhikari said the city is also famous among domestic tourists, not only foreigners. “Domestic tourism accounts for around 50 percent of Pokhara ’s tourism,” he said, adding Pokhara tourism will get further boost after the development of the regional airport, Mid-Hill Highway and Pokhara Ring Road.
While the city is best known for education, pilgrimage, adventure sports, natural beauty and trekking, experts have underlined the need for discovering other interesting facts about the city to attract more tourists and discouraging activities like strikes and bandas. Pokhara has to be developed as the centre for tourism and its surrounding tourist destinations and districts should be developed and promoted as sub-centres, according to NTB’s Sapkota. The locals say the government has to also think about building a fast track road, besides the regional airport.
It is estimated that around 700,000 tourists, including domestic visitors, visit Pokhara each year. The Western Regional Hotel Association said there around 500 hotels (including small and big star hotels) in the city offering more than 15,000 beds. Besides, there are also small cottages, guest houses, home stay services and government guest houses which address the demand for accommodation.
Although not exact figure is available, there has been an investment of Rs 60 billion in the tourism sector in Pokhara providing direct and indirect employment to 50,000 individuals. Home stay in surrounding areas such as Sarangkot, Dhampus, Ghandruk, Bhada-ure, Sikless and Tangtingis attracting investment.
source: ekantipur, 23 Jan 2014