… it's all about tourism

Monthly Archives: February 2014

Nepal Economic SummitThe 19-point declaration issued at the end of the Nepal Economic Summit issued on February 26, prioritizes three key issues agriculture, tourism and energy.

In tourism, the declaration aims to increase private sector investment by developing infrastructures. In the declaration, the government and the private sector have said that they would lay special focus on up-gradation of Tribhuwan International Airport, construction of regional airports in Lumbini, Nijgadh and Pokhara.

For the airports, the government and the private sector have agreed to adopt public private partnership model. “These airports construction will be announced in the upcoming budget and private sector will be invited through open bids to participate in their construction and management. We will work on inviting the private sector through open bids for better management of services at Tribhuwan International Airport,” the declaration states.

Similarly, the government and the private sector have agreed to work on improving air safety through regulations and upgrading infrastructural facilities at existing airports. “Specific programs on air safety will also be announced in the upcoming budget,” said the declaration.

The declaration also envisages putting in place a favorable framework for tourism development that complements not only conservation and bio-diversity but also allows us to earn revenue to make the conservation sustainable. “This kind of framework will define specific rules and regulations under which private sector can participate in developing high value tourism products in the conservation areas,” the declaration states. “In developing such kind of framework, learning from experiences of countries that have already used this mechanism in tourism promotion will be used.”

The declaration aims to increase per capita spending of foreign tourists to US$ 60 from existing $36 by expanding tourism products and services. As per the declaration, five strategic locals would be selected to develop them as tourist destinations by the end of 2016. In choosing these locations, we will work extensively on strategic studies that assess the market viability of these locations. “We will ensure the inclusion of Lumbini, Janakpur, and three locations from far east and far west region in these five locations,” states the declaration.

Similarly, the declaration aims to adopt a value chain approach to the development of these destinations and ensure community involvement to enlarge the beneficiary group that results from this expansion.

The agenda set by the summit would be taken forward by the government and the private sector through joint forums like the Nepal Business Forum (NBF), according to a statement.

Nepal ChinaNepal and China have revised Air Service Agreement (ASA) by increasing flight frequency four four-fold to 56 a week.

As per the revised pact signed on Monday, an additional seven flights per week will be added annually to 70 flights per week by 2016.

No Nepali airline is currently operating flight to the northern neighbor. However, four Chinese airlines – Air China, China Southern and China Eastern – link Kathmandu with different Chinese cities.

Tourism secretary Sushil Ghimire and Xia Xinghua, deputy administrator of Civil Aviation Administration of China, signed the agreement on behalf of their respective governments.

The new ASA permits both the countries unlimited traffic rights for cargo flights with any type of aircraft. It also allows bilateral and third-party code-sharing by carriers of the two countries.

According to the Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation, Nepali and Chinese carriers can operate from seven Chinese cities – Chengdu, Lhasa, Beijing, Kunming, Shanghai, Guangzhou and Xian.

China has also agreed to remove the restriction for Nepali carriers to fly to Lhasa – the capital of Tibet. So far, Chinese carriers were enjoying monopoly on the route. They were charging airfare of as much as $450 for one-way flight.

Though Lhasa is connected to a few Chinese cities, Kathmandu is the only international destination connected with the Tibetan capital.

Meanwhile, the Chinese side said it would need some time to study Nepal’s proposal of allowing ‘circle navigation flights’ for Kailash-Mansarovar area in Tibet.

Kailash-Mansarovar area is an important pilgrimage site for Hindus. Hundreds of Indian tourists reach the area every year via Nepal.

Meanwhile, Shichuan Airlines have expressed interest to fly to Nepal in the near future.

Nepal and China first signed ASA in 2003. Air China started flying to Nepal a year later.

Ang Tshering Sherpa

Ang Thsering Sherpa poses for a photo after winning the election for the post of president of NMA.

The panel led by Ang Tshering Sherpa has won all the posts of office-bearers and executive members in the election for the new executive committee of Nepal Mountaineering Association (NMA) held in Kathmandu on February 21.

The election has elected six office-bearers and nine executive members with Ang Tshering Sherpa as president. Sherpa is also the honorary member of UIAA. He defeated Nima Nuru Sherpa, the incumbent 1st vice president of the association, by 82 votes.

Similarly, Santa Bir Lama and Diwas Bickram Shah have been elected as the 1st vice president and 2nd vice president, respectively. Lama defeated Namgel Sherpa by 73 votes, while Shah defeated Nuru Jangbu Sherpa by 154 votes.

Likewise, Thakur Raj Pandey, Rajendra Man Shrestha and Tika Ram Gurung from Ang Tshering’s panel have been elected to the post of general secretary, secretary and treasurer, respectively. Pasang Sherpa, Dr Nima Namgyal Sherpa, Dr Hari Prasad Shrestha, Dhan Bahadur Gurung, Chhurim Sherpa, Lakpa Sherpa, Da Gelje Sherpa, Pemba Dorjee Sherpa and Kamini L Sherpa, all from Ang Tshering’s panel, have been elected executive members.

Pasang Tenzing Sherpa of Ang Tshering’s panel has been elected unopposed as the executive member form associate members.


Book-holders also from Ang Tshering panel

Book-holders have elected Padam Ghaley, Mingma Sherpa, Dorjee Khatri and Pasang Bhote in the executive committee of NMA.

All of them are from Ang Tshering panel. While Ghale received 212 votes, Sherpa, Khatri and Bhote got 205, 195 and 189 votes, respectively.

Along with these 20 elected office-bearers and executive members, a representative committee of tourism ministry is also in the executive committee.

NMAFormer president Ang Tshering Sherpa and incumbent first vice president Nima Nuru Sherpa have announced separate panels for the election of the executive of Nepal Mountaineering Association (NMA) to be held in Kathmandu on February 21.

Santabir Lama, Dibas Bikram Shah, Thakur Raj Pandey, Rajendra Man Shrestha and Tika Gurung are the Ang Tshering’s candidates for the post of 1st vice president, 2nd vice president, general secretary, secretary and treasurer, respectively.

Similarly, Hari Prasad Shrestha, Kamini L Sherpa, Dhan Bahadur Gurung, Chhurim Sherpa, Psasang Sherpa, Lakpa Sherpa, Da Gelje Sherpa, Pemba Dorji Sherpa and Dr Nima Namgel Sherpa are the candidates for executive members from general members.

Likewise, Dorje Khatri, Mingma Sherpa, Pasang Bhote and Padam Ghale are the candidates for executive members from among mountaineers and book-holders. Pasang Tenzing Sherpa of the panel has been declared elected unopposed in the executive member form associate members.

Similarly, Namgel Sherpal, Nuru Jangbu Sherpa, Bachhu Narayan Shrestha, Tej Bahadur Gurung and Diwas Pokharel are the candidates for the post of 1st vice president, 2nd vice president, general secretary, secretary from Nima Nuru’s panel. Dawa Sherpa, Purna Bahadur Kunwar, Maya Sherpa, Shiva Bahadur Sapkota, Lakpa Nuru Sherpa, Narayan Sundar Shrestha, Lakpa Chhiri Sherpa, Lakpa Nurbu Sherpa, and Rajendra Bahadur Lama are the candidates for executive members from Nima Nuru’s panel.

Mingmar Dorji Sherpa, Lakpa Tenji Sherpa, Ang Dawa Sherpa and Phurba Sherpa are Nima Nuru’s candidates for the post of executive members from mountaineers and book-holders.

The election to be held on February 21 will elect six office-bearers and nine executive members.  Similarly, mountaineers and book-holders will elect four executive members.

Eighteen people, including three crew members, on board the Twin Otter of Nepal Airlines Corporation (NAC) have been confirmed dead.

The aircraft, which went missing on Sunday afternoon, crashed at Masine Lek of Dhikura VDC in Argakhanchi district. The crash site was discovered early Monday morning. Security personnel have recovered all 18 bodies. Efforts are underway to airlift them to Kathmandu.

Earlier, it was presumed that the aircraft had crashed at Khidim forest in Argakhanchi district.

The 43-year old aircraft with 9N-ABB call sign had left Pokhara Airport for Jumla at 12:43 pm. It had last contacted Bhairahawa airport at 1:13 pm. It was scheduled to reach Jumla at 1:45 pm.

Captain Shankar Shrestha, co-pilot Rabindra Banjara and air hostess Muna Maharjan were on board the ill-fated aircraft.

According to NAC, other passengers were Manab Sejuwal, Gauri Kathayat, Tek Bahadur Mahatara, Nanda Mahatara, D Mahatara, Barsha Hamal Neupane, Uma Tamang, Dr Bikalpa Polkahrel, DP Upadhyaya, Rajendra Prasad Devkota, Dipak Shrestha, D Shahi, R Chaulagain, and Danish national M Mathiesen.

The crash raises serious question on aviation safety of Nepal at a time when efforts were underway to lift the ban on Nepali aircraft to fly in European skies by the European Commission.