Himalaya Travel Mart concludes successfully

The three-day 3rd Himalayan Travel Mart (HTM 2019) concluded successfully in Kathmandu on Sunday.

The three-day 3rd Himalayan Travel Mart (HTM 2019) concluded successfully in Kathmandu on Sunday.

Billed as the biggest travel trade marketplace for the Himalayas, HTM 2019 drew more than 700 delegates, including more than 150 foreigners, from 43 different countries. The four-day event was organized by PATA Nepal Chapter in collaboration with the Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation, Nepal Tourism Board, PATA Headquarters, Nepal Airlines and the other prominent tourism organizations of Nepal.

Inaugurating the mart, Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli emphasized on Nepal’s immense tourism potentialities with diversified tangible and intangible products and services including cultural heritage, art and architecture, pilgrimage, Yoga, Ayurveda and meditation, among others. He also said pristine nature, unique climate and the most hospitable people make Nepal one of the happening destinations in the world.

In the inauguration ceremony, Oli posthumously awarded former tourism minister Rabindra Adhikari in recognition of his dedication and relentless efforts in uplifting the development of tourism in Nepal. Similarly, he also felicitated British mountaineering Doug Scott in recognition of his lifetime efforts and contribution in the field of mountaineering and tourism in Nepal.

One of the main attractions of HTM 2019 was the HTM Conference under the theme of “Spirit of the Himalayas”. The conference witnessed more than 20 prominent speakers, spiritual leaders, mystics, religious gurus, influencers and tourism experts who dwelt on various issues including spiritual tourism,  adventure travel trends, responsible and sustainable tourism, digital transformation and new trends in tourism, travel media trends, contemporary issues, challenges and opportunities for the development of tourism for Nepal as well as the Himalayan nations.

Likewise, International Travel Bloggers and Media Conference saw participation of more than 40 international travel bloggers and media as well as hundreds of local media delegates. Various speakers emphasized on the role of travel media and bloggers for tourism promotion of a destination.

The organizers had arranged pre-mart routes for all hosted buyers and media to acquaint them with Nepal’s tourism products and services.

The mart was fruitful in terms of business as well. The two-day B2B session witnessed  58 buyers from 30 different countries from the US, Europe, Australia, New Zealand, Russia, Asia and the Gulf Region, as well as sellers from six countries — Nepal, India, Bhutan, Pakistan, China and Thailand.

The next edition of the HTM will be held on June 12-15, 2020 in Kathmandu.

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.

‘Experience of a lifetime’

Popular actress Manisha Koirala, who trekked to the Everest Base Camp earlier this month, has termed her trip ‘an experience of a lifetime’. 

Popular actress Manisha Koirala, who trekked to the Everest Base Camp earlier this month, has termed her trip ‘an experience of a lifetime’.

The cancer survivor, who has spent most of her life out of the country, said: “Viewing Mount Everest that closer was like a childhood dream coming true.”

Saying that the Khumbu region takes you to a different world filled with joy, she added: “If there is a heaven on earth, it is there.”

The popular Bollywood actress’ feeling echoes the similar sentiments of many Nepalese and the foreigners who have visited Nepal and declared, ‘Heaven is myth, Nepal is real.’

For her, the journey itself was exciting due to the walk across pinewood forests, glorious views of colorful rhododendrons in full bloom, blue sky, flowing rivers with some melody, and villages with warm and innocent people along with the company of strong Sherpa guides. “Some journeys are worth stepping out of one’s comfort zone”, she shared at a press meet organized by Nepal Tourism Board.

Trek to Everest Base Camp has made it to BBC’s “50 Things To Do Before You Die” list. The epic journey begins from Lukla airstrip which is now popular as the  gateway to the Everest. It usually takes seven days to reach the base camp located at an altitude of 5,380 meters.

“The excitement of waking up in the morning and looking at the magnificent mountains surrounding you is just priceless. I felt goose bumps,” Manisha shared after waking up at the base camp.

Sharing her experience, Manisha said: “There were definitely hardships to trek for long days, but every step was worth taking, every view worth viewing and every day like a wonder. You only need strong will power and hard work.”

 

Manisha, who has done dozens of super hit Bollywood and Nepali films in her career, feels the Khumbu region needs more exposure to promote it as a destination for shooting of movies. “Every location is perfect for film shooting,” she remarked saying that she will share the possibilities with the movie directors, which could also contribute to the country’s tourism industry.

Manisha also said that she wants do at least one trek every year now onwards. The ace actress has put Annapurna and Manaslu regions in her bucket list.

 

#photoNepal features wildlife photographs

Wildlife photographs taken by Chitwan-based photographer Sagar Giri are on display at Nepal Tourism Board (NTB) as part of its monthly #photoNepal event.

Wildlife photographs taken by Chitwan-based photographer Sagar Giri are on display at Nepal Tourism Board (NTB) as part of its monthly #photoNepal event.

“The new series of #photoNepal is began on April 5 with works of renowned wildlife photographer Sagar Giri.  He is known for his daring shots and has captured many iconic images of wildlife,” NTB said in a statement.

Altogether 35 pictures have been kept on display in the event that will continue till April 11.

#photoNepal is a project initiated by NTB for promoting Nepal through pictures.  Along with displaying photographs, the event also features an experience sharing session with the photographer.

“Wildlife of Nepal is rich and is home to many endangered and rare species. Nepal is known for many through this diversity and richness,” Deepak Raj Joshi, CEO of NTB said. “It is because of this that we are showcasing wildlife in this edition of #photoNepal.”

Sagar Giri, 28, is passionate about nature and wildlife. Giri, who studied hotel management in Australia, chose to turn his hobby into a career. He is also a licensed nature guide. The young photographer is also a strong advocate of nature and wildlife conservation.

(All pictures by Sagar Giri)

Nepali father-son duo out to climb Seven Summits

A Nepali father-son duo has unveiled an ambitious plan to climb highest mountains of all seven continents.

PK Sherpa with his son Sonam.

A Nepali father-son duo has unveiled an ambitious plan to climb highest mountains of all seven continents.

The duo also aims at raise awareness about the pressing need to save mountains which are facing severe consequences of climate change and global warming.

PK Sherpa, who hails from Taplejung in eastern Nepal, and his 14-year-old son Sonam Sherpa will begin their journey by attempting Mount Kosciuszko — the highest mountain of Australia. They will then attempt Mount Kilimanjaro — the highest peak of Africa — in May, Mount Elbrus — the highest peak of Europe — in July, Mount Aconcagua of South America in September and Mount Vinson Massif of Antarctica in October.

Similarly, they plan to climb Mount Denali of North America in March next year, before capping their ambitious journey by attempting Mount Everest in May same year.

After the successful summit, they plan to organize Global Snow Protection Conference in Kathmandu in November.

PK Sherpa informing the press about his expedition.

Speaking at the press meet organized in Kathmandu on Monday, PK Sherpa said the duo also plans to collect as much garbage as possible from all the mountains to draw the attention of rest of the world toward the pressing need to save our mountains. “My son is capable enough to complete this campaign. He has already trekked above 5,600 meters,” he added.

Trekking Agencies’ Association of Nepal (TAAN) Nawaraj Dahal, Board Director of Nepal Tourism Board (NTB) Pampha Dhamala, among others were present in the press meet.

TAAN, among others, is supporting father-son duo’s ambitious plan.