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.

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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).

Himalaya Travel Mart concludes on a high note

The second edition of Himalayan Travel Mart 2018 has concluded on a high note.

According to the organizers, the event succeeded in laying grounds to welcome five million tourists by 2030 by holding deliberations among tourism stakeholders and branding the country as the ‘Gateway to the Himalayas’.

The second edition of Himalayan Travel Mart 2018 has concluded on a high note.

According to the organizers, the event succeeded in laying grounds to welcome five million tourists by 2030 by holding deliberations among tourism stakeholders and branding the country as the ‘Gateway to the Himalayas’.

The mart was organized by Nepal Tourism Board (NTB) along with Nepal Chapter of Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA) and the Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation along with number of travel trade associations.

HTM conference, International Travel Bloggers and Media Conference, and a Buyers and Sellers Meet were the major components of HTM 2018.

Altogether 59 buyers from 26 countries and 52 sellers from countries like Nepal, India, Bhutan, South Korea, Indonesia, Turkey, and UAE participated in the mart. Similarly, 43 bloggers from 18 different countries participated in the event.

Inaugurating the HTM conference entitled ‘The Sustainable Road to Five Million Visitors’, Minister for Foreign Affairs Pradeep Kumar Gyawali said that the government had laid high priority to tourism sector for achieving the goal of economic prosperity. He added that the government would focus on infrastructure development, and marketing and promotion to meet the target of bringing 2 million tourists by 2020 and 5 million tourists by 2030.

Speaking at the program, Deepak Raj Joshi, CEO of NTB, underlined the need to continue the unity and togetherness of tourism stakeholders, which has been proven as an instrumental means to overcome any kind of problem in the tourism sector.

In his presentation, Marcus Lee, Chairman of International China Investment Forum (ICIF), said that Nepal could meet the target of bringing 2 million international tourists by 2020 and 5 million by 2030 by effectively tapping Chinese and Indian markets. He suggested intensifying promotional activities in Tier 2 and Tier 3 cities through by making optimum use of digital platforms. “Only 10 percent of Chinese have passport so far. The outbound is generating from this market,” he said, adding: “Imagine the prospect of the Chinese outbound market from the additional 90 percent population in the future.”

Buyers and Sellers Meet, and International Travel Bloggers and Media Conference were held on June 2.

The organizers had also arranged pre-mart tours for international travel bloggers and hosted buyers to acquaint them with Nepal.

Armyman Shrestha wins title of Lumbini Peace Marathon

Homlal Shresha of Nepal Army has won the title of 4th Lumbini PEACE Marathon organized in Lumbini – the birthplace of Lord Buddha — on March 1.

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Homlal Shrestha crosses the finishing line.

Homlal Shresha of Nepal Army has won the title of 4th Lumbini PEACE Marathon organized in Lumbini – the birthplace of Lord Buddha — on March 1.

Shrestha finished the marathon with the timing of 2 hrs 54 minutes and 53 seconds. Similarly, Nepal Army athletes Hari Prasad Rimal and Khagendra Bhatta stood in the second and third position with the timing of 2:57:24 and 3:03:40, respectively.

The spiritual marathon began from Kudan – the place where Buddha is believed to have met his parents for the first time after his enlightenment. The trail passed through Buddhist heritage sites like Tilaurakot Palace, Niglihawa, Banganga River and concluded at the Lumbini Sacred Garden.

Shrestha received Lumbini Ashoka Peace Prize of Rs 100,000, medal and certificate. While the first runner up received Kapilvastu Xuen Xang Peace Prize of Rs 75,000, and the second runner up received Mayadevi Garden Uthant Prize of Rs 50,000.

The marathon was organized jointly by Lumbini PEACE Marathon Pvt Ltd and Adventure Sports Nepal. It was supported by number of organizations including Lumbini Area Development Trust, Nepal Tourism Board, Vaidya’s Organization of Industrial and Trading Houses (VOITH), Hotel Kasai, Nepal Chamber of Commerce and Buddha Air, among others.

A total of 94 athletes from Nepal as well as India, China, Hong Kong, New Zealand, USA, Germany, South Korea and Sweden, among others participated in the marathon.

HALF MARATHON

Tirtha Pun of Indian Army won the half marathon (21 km) category of Lumbini PEACE Marathon. Similarly, Nepal Army athletes Ramji Basnet and Tikaraj Katwal finished the race as first runner up and second runner up, respectively. While the winner took home Rs 50,000, the first and second runner ups became richer by Rs 35,000 and Rs 25,000, respectively.

5 KILOMETERS RUN

In the five kilometers run organized for students, Sunil Thapa finished first with the timing of 17 mins and 5 seconds, while Sanjay Rai (17:07) and Satendra Yadav (17:24) finished second and third, respectively. While the winner took home Rs 10,000, first and second runner up received cash prize of Rs 7,000 and Rs 5,000, respectively.

Bhikkhu Maitri of International Bouddha Society gave away Lumbini Ashoka Peace Prize, while Chief Monk of the Chinese Monastery presented Kapilvastu Xuen Xang Peace Prize. Similarly, Chief Monk of Myanmar Monastery gave away Mayadevi Garden Uthant Peace Prize, while Chief Monk of the Chinese Monastery.

Speaking at the program, Bikram Pandey, chairman of Lumbini Peace Marathon, said that the main objective of the marathon is to promote Lumbini-Kapilvastu region at national and international level through a spiritual sport. “We are very encouraged with the athlete footfalls. We are hopeful that the event will expand further in the coming years,” he added.

Representatives of Lumbini Area Development Trust, Nepal Tourism Board (NTB), Nepal Association of Tour and Travel Agents, Adventure Sports Society Nepal, among others were present in the closing ceremony.

On the eve of Lumbini Peace Marathon, a three-day cycle rally was organized from Kathmandu to Lumbini. Named the Great Buddhist Trail, the cycle rally saw participation of around 50 cyclists. The event started from Swoyambhu and concluded at Lumbini.

Lumbini Peace Marathon in Lumbini on March 1

Lumbini Peace Marathon and Adventure Sports Nepal are jointly organizing 4th Lumbini Peace Marathon 2018 in Lumbini – the birthplace of Lord Buddha – on March 1, 2018.

Press Meet

From left: Bikram Pandey, patron of Lumbini Peace Marathon; and Olympian Baikuntha Manandhar, among others at the press meet.

Lumbini Peace Marathon and Adventure Sports Nepal are jointly organizing 4th Lumbini Peace Marathon 2018 in Lumbini – the birthplace of Lord Buddha – on March 1, 2018.

Organizing a press meet in Kathmandu on Monday, the organizers said that the first and only spiritual sports event in the world is being organized to promote Lumbini as the ultimate tourist destination for all Buddhist followers provide runners from all over the world a thematic marathon event, and for development and promotion of marathon sport in Nepal.

“The marathon route follows the footsteps of Buddha and passes through Mother Mayadevi Maternity Route and the land of Three Buddhas. While running Lumbini Peace Marathon, athletes pass through important Buddhist heritage sites in an around Lumbini. A spiritual marathon like the Lumbini Peace Marathon, which follows the footsteps of Lord Buddha to his hometown of Kapilvastu, his palace in Tilaurakot and his birthplace in Lumbini, gives runners a chance to experience an aura of spiritual enlightenment that other traditional marathon lacks,” the organizers said in the statement.

Speaking at the press meet, Bikram Pandey, patron of Lumbini Peace Marathon, said that the main objective of the event is to promote tourism in Lumbini-Kapilvastu region through spiritual sports marathon. “Once the international airport in Bhairahawa comes into operation, the number of visitors is expected to grow by leaps and bounds. This marathon will help to bring more tourists to Lumbini,” he added.

Similarly, Olympian Baikuntha Manandhar, who is the race director of the event, said that Lumbini Peace Marathon is not just a sporting event but a tool to promote Lumbini in the world tourism map.

Likewise, Shikhar Pandey, event manager, said that they were expecting 250 runners to participate in the marathon. “Around 25 runners from countries like China, India, an Australia, among others, have already confirmed their participation,” he added.

There will be three categories in the marathon — full marathon of 42.195 km, half marathon of 21 km, and student/general run of 5 km. The winner, 1st runner-up and 2nd runner-up of the full marathon will take home cash prize of Rs 100,000, Rs 75,000 and Rs 50,000, respectively, along with medal and certificates. Similarly, the winner, 1st runner-up and 2nd runner-up of the half marathon will be richer by Rs 50,000, Rs 35,000 and Rs 25,000, respectively.