HTM 2019 will support Visit Nepal Year campaign

Sunil Sakya is the president of Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA) Nepal Chapter. Shakya, who joined the tourism industry from hotel business, is now the chairman of KGH Hotels Pvt Ltd. KGH Hotels have properties in Kathmandu Valley, Pokhara, Lumbini and Chitwan, among others. As Nepal prepares to host 3rd Himalayan Travel Mart (HTM) in […]

Sunil Sakya is the president of Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA) Nepal Chapter. Shakya, who joined the tourism industry from hotel business, is now the chairman of KGH Hotels Pvt Ltd. KGH Hotels have properties in Kathmandu Valley, Pokhara, Lumbini and Chitwan, among others. As Nepal prepares to host 3rd Himalayan Travel Mart (HTM) in Kathmandu, Kishor Basnyat of eTravelPress talked to Sakya to know more about the mart and its objectives. Excerpts:

How has been the preparation for HTM 2019?
The preparation is well underway. We have used our best of the knowledge and skills to make this mart successful. We have buyers and sellers from 30 countries participating. They have been screened by NTB and our PATA Travel Mart. Most of the buyers and media persons and bloggers are already in Nepal. They are currently participating in pre-mart fam trips. Some are doing trekking, others are visiting Pokhara, Chitwan or Lumbini. We have trained 60 plus volunteers to make sure that the mart progresses in a seamless manner. All the volunteers are in place now: at the airport, at the hotels. We are promoting the mart as the gateway to the Himalayas. In line with our theme, we are seeing participation of delegates, speakers and buyers/sellers reflect from the Himalayan countries.

This is the third edition of HTM. How has the event grown over the past years?
We have grown in terms of popularity, quality and event size. This event is well-known now. There is huge demand from buyers and sellers. We closed registration about a week ago, but we are still getting request from seller companies. Because of small venue at Soaltee Crowne Plaza, we had to turn down many sellers this year. Many are in the waiting list. We could have accommodated more sellers if we had bigger venue.

How has been the response?
The response from the international travel trade has been immense and exciting. We had lot of queries from buyers. There is also a huge interest from media, travel bloggers and influencers. We have selected them after rigorous screening. I am hopeful that they will cover the event in their respective media and social media platforms which will in turn promote HTM. Also, the quality in terms of buyers, sellers, media, bloggers and speakers is getting better.

We are promoting the mart as the gateway to the Himalayas. In line with our theme, we are seeing participation of delegates, speakers and buyers/sellers reflect from the Himalayan countries.

Nepal is celebrating Visit Nepal Year 2020. How do you think the mart will support the yearlong campaign?
As a lot of international media and bloggers are here, HTM could be a launching pad for VNY. Further, officials of PATA Headquarters are here. As PATA is a global organization, I think many international delegates will be acquainted with the mart. Through HTM, many countries across the world will be able to know about our Visit Nepal Year 2019 campaign.

Could you please elaborate the theme of HTM 2019?
The theme of HTM 2019 is ‘Spirit of Himalayas’. Tourism is ever changing and new types of products are being introduced and tried across the world. We cannot remain in isolation. We have a big challenge of welcoming two million visitors by 2020. For that, we need new tourism products and services. We are using this mart to cash in on the new trend of tourism — spirituality. We will be talking about yoga, spa and wellness, mind, body and soul, and other things. We will be discussing on these new trends in the conference that we are hosting as a major component of HTM 2019.

Kathmandu featured in Lonely Planet’s best cities list

Popular travel guidebook Lonely Planet has included Kathmandu in its ‘Best in Travel 2019: Top Cities’ list.

File photo of Kathmandu Durbar Square.

Popular travel guidebook Lonely Planet has included Kathmandu in its ‘Best in Travel 2019: Top Cities’ list.

Kathmandu features at 5th position on the list of 10 cities across the world “primed to capture travelers’ imaginations”, according to Lonely Planet.

“In the aftermath of the 2015 earthquake, news reports from Kathmandu showed

a city broken and in mourning, but today the narrative is all about reconstruction and rejuvenation,” the guide book writes, adding: “Sure, there’s work to do restoring the magnificent monuments that crumbled during the disaster, but historic sites are being returned to their former glory, and moves to calm the city’s infamous traffic, smog and noise have made Kathmandu more liveable than it has been in decades.

There’s even reliable electricity as wi-fi as bonus creature comforts in the atmospheric and maze-like alleyways of the old city.
Copenhagen, the capital of Denmark, tops the list followed by Shenzhen (China), Novi Sad (serbia), Miami (US), Kathmandu (Nepal), Mexico City (Mexico), Dakar (Senegal), Seattle (US), Zadar (Croatia) and Meknes (Morocco).

 

 

World Tourism Day celebration in pictures

Nepal celebrated World Tourism Day 2018 by organizing various programs in different parts of the country. The theme of this year’s celebration was ‘Tourism and the Digital Transformation’. Different travel trade associations joined hands with the government to celebrate the day. Some glimpses of the celebrations:

Nepal celebrated World Tourism Day 2018 by organizing various programs in different parts of the country.

The theme of this year’s celebration was ‘Tourism and the Digital Transformation’. Different travel trade associations joined hands with the government to celebrate the day.

Some glimpses of the celebrations:

Girls draped in traditional attire ready to welcome guests attending a program organized jointly by Tourism Ministry and Nepal Tourism Board.

Nepal Tourism Board CEO Deepak Raj Joshi and others welcoming the first group of tourists landing at Tribhuvan International Airport in Kathmandu.

Representatives of tourism enterprises awarded on the day.

Three Best Village Tourism Destinations were also awarded during World Tourism Day celeberations.

Himalaya Expeditions gave away different awards to personalities supporting Tenzing Hillary Everest Marathon and Lumbini PEACE Marathon.

Tourism Minister Rabindra Adhikari leading a hiking program organized from Kakani to Suryachaur by Trekking Agencies’ Association of Nepal.

Nepal Mountaineering Association awarded representative of top agents during its AGM that coincided with World Tourism Day.

Senior entrepreneur Tek Chandra Pokharel passes away

Senior tourism entrepreneur Tek Chandra Pokharel passed away in Kathmandu this morning.

Late Tek Chandra Pokharel

Senior tourism entrepreneur Tek Chandra Pokharel passed away in Kathmandu this morning.

He breathed his last at Om Hospital, Kathmandu.

The veteran entrepreneur was associated with Nepali tourism industry for nearly five decades. He was the owner of Shangri La Tours, Himalayan Journeys and Kathmandu’s iconic Rum Doodle restaurant – the popular hangout point for mountaineers.

Pokharel was one of the founders of Himalayan Rescue Association (HRA) which has been working to make Nepali mountains safe by raising awareness among trekkers and mountaineers about high altitude sickness and also providing medical service to trekkers and mountain in high Himalayas. He also served as the president of Nepal Mountaineering Association (NMA), Trekking Agencies’ Association of Nepal and Nepal Association of Travel Agents (now Nepal Association of Tour and Travel Agents).

The senior entrepreneur also served as the Honorary Consul General of Mexico in Nepal.

Issuing a statement, Nepal Tourism Board (NTB) said it was saddened to know about the sad demise of Tek Chandra Pokharel, doyen of Nepalese tourism. “He was a founding chairman of many tourism related associations of Nepal. Well-versed in tourism, he was involved in preparation of Nepal Tourism Master Plan,” the statement added.

Trekking Agencies’ Association of Nepal (TAAN) also said it was saddened to know

that its former president is no more.

Lumbini on Lonely Planet’s top Asian destinations list

Popular travel guide book has featured Lumbini – the birthplace of Lord Buddha and a UNESCO World Heritage site – in its ‘2018 Best in Asia’ list.
Lumbini is ranked 7th position of 10 Asian destinations featured by Lonely Planet.

lumbini

Mayadevi Temple of Lumbini.

Popular travel guide book Lonely Planet has featured Lumbini – the birthplace of Lord Buddha and a UNESCO World Heritage site – on its ‘2018 Best in Asia’ list. Lumbini is ranked 7th out of 10 Asian destinations featured on the list.

“For decades, Lumbini was somewhere travelers flashed through en route from India to Nepal, often unaware that they had passed within yards of the birthplace of the historical Buddha. Today, thanks to the efforts of the international Buddhist community, Lumbini is on the ascendancy, but despite its heritage, this sacred site remains a sleepy detour off the backpacker trail,” Lonely Planet writes about Lumbini.

“However, change is apace; a new international airport is under construction, offering a new, safer route into Nepal, and ever-more awing temples are springing up. While these developments may finally be the catalyst that brings Lumbini the attention it deserves, the town’s cardinal draw will remain its tranquility – embodied by the rare sarus cranes that stalk the wetlands around the World Peace Pagoda,” it adds.

Busan of South Korea is ranked No.1 Asian destination by Lonely Planet. Other destinations on the list are: Uzbekistan, Ho Chi Minh City (Vietnam), Western Ghats (India), Nagasaki (Japan), Chiang Mai (Thailand), Arugam Bay (Sri Lanka), Sichuan (China) and Komodo National Park (Indonesia).