Khum Subedi elected TAAN president

Khum Bahadur Subedi of Unique Adventure Treks International Ltd has been elected the president of Trekking Agencies’ Association of Nepal (TAAN).

Khum Bahadur Subedi of Unique Adventure Treks International Ltd has been elected the president of Trekking Agencies’ Association of Nepal (TAAN).

In the election for the new executive held in Kathmandu on Friday, Subedi defeated his opponent Anjan Thapa of Asahi Treks Pvt Ltd.

Subedi is the incumbent senior vice president of TAAN, while Thapa is a former treasurer.

Senior vice president, 1st vice president and 2nd vice president were also elected from Subedi’s panel. Nabin Trital of Expeditions Himalayan, Cholendra Bahadur Karki of Himalaya Joy Adventure, and Bharat Sapkota of Breakfree Adventure were elected to the post of senior vice president, 1st vice president and 2nd vice president, respectively.

Similarly, Sarita Lama of Off the Wall Trekking, Damodar Dhakal of Mission Nepal Holidays, Ritu Gyamdan of Nepal Female Guides Treks and Surya Kumar Shrestha of Himalayan Trekking and Tours were elected to the post of general secretary, secretary, treasurer and joint treasurer, respectively.

While General Secretary Lama and Dhakal from Thapa’s panel, Treasurer Gyamdan and Joint Treasurer Shrestha are from Subedi’s panel.

Likewise, Ngima Diki Sherpa from Thapa’s panel has been elected woman member.

Of the eight open members, four are from Subedi’s panel and four from Thapa’s panel. Mingma Tenzing Sherpa of Rolbaling Excusion, Ram Bahadur Gurung of Yatra Himalaya Adventure, Prem Bahadur Lama of Tibet Holidays and Thakur Prasad Sapkota of Asiana Treks and Tours have been elected executive members from Thapa panel.

Similarly, Sonam Gyalzen Sherpa of Asian Alpine Treks and Expeditions, Sikbir Ghale of Himalaya View Treks, Kanchha Shepa of Nima Adventure Treks and Expeditions, and Sanam Shepa of All Around Treks and Expeditions have been elected executive members from Subedi’s panel.

Talking to media after his election to the post, President Subedi said his focus would be on implementing programs and policies included in the panel’s election manifesto.

Enhancing marketing expertise of member agents, lobbying with the government to introduce one-door window for all permits, group insurance of all trekking staffers, ensuring effective management of TIMS to control illegal operation of trekking business, enforcing ‘no trekking without guide/porter provision’, putting in place online system for issuance of TIMS cards, providing needful training to trekking support staff, lobbying with the concerned government agencies on VAT issue, organizing adventure travel mart in Nepal, making TAAN debt-free by searching for income generating activities, among others, were some of the programs included in election manifesto of Subedi’s panel.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

TAAN election today

Two panels of leftist and democratic trekking operators led by Anjan Thapa and Khum Bahadur Subedi, respectively, contesting the election   Trekking Agencies’ Association of Nepal (TAAN) is holding an election for a new leadership on Friday. Tourism entrepreneurs, especially trekking operators, as gripped by the fever of the election as TAAN is the largest […]

Two panels of leftist and democratic trekking operators led by Anjan Thapa and Khum Bahadur Subedi, respectively, contesting the election

 

Trekking Agencies’ Association of Nepal (TAAN) is holding an election for a new leadership on Friday. Tourism entrepreneurs, especially trekking operators, as gripped by the fever of the election as TAAN is the largest body of private sector in tourism with nearly 1,300 members.

Two separate panels led by Anjan Thapa and Khum Bahadur Subedi are participating in the election. Thapa, who leads the panel of leftist force, is a former treasurer of the association, while Subedi who is the candidate of democratic force, is the incumbent senior vice president of TAAN.

Observers say TAAN’s stature started waning after it started issuing TIMS permits. Interestingly, resolving TIMS issue features in agenda of both the panels that are contesting Friday’s election.

 

Rishi Prasad Nepal, Prakash Chandra Devkota, Tenzing Sherpa, Sarita Lama, Damodar Dhakal, Tek Bahadur Khakurel and Pradeep Pandit are the candidates for the post of senior vice president, 1st vice president, 2nd vice president, general secretary, secretary, treasurer and joint treasurer, respectively, from Thapa’s panel. Similarly, Ngima Diki Sherpa is the panel’s candidate for women member, while Sunil Silwal, Krisha Gopal Shrestha, Prem Bahadur Lama, Raghunath Poudel, Ram Bahadur Gurung, Shreeraj Adhikari, gima Sherpa and Thakur Sapkota are candidates of members from Thapa’s pael.

TAAN presidential candidates Anjan Thapa (left) and Khum Bahadur Subedi at the election venue.

Likewise, Nabi Trital, Cholendra Bahadur Karki, Bharat Sapkota, Karma Sherpa, Pradeep Kumar Ghimire, Ritu Gyamdan and Surya Kumar Shrestha are the candidates for the post of senior vice president, 1st vice president, 2nd vice president, general secretary, secretary, treasurer and joint treasurer, respectively, from Subedi’s panel. While Buddha Kumari Adhikari is the candidate for women member, Sonam Gyalzen Sherpa, Somraj Adhikari, Simbir Ghale, Kanchha Sherpa, Rabindra Maharjan, Sanam Sherpa, Keshav Prasad Dahal and Tenzing Sherpa are the candidates for members from Subedi panel.

TAAN is holding its 41st Annual General Meeting (AGM) on Friday. The AGM will approve annual progress report and annual financial for FY2018/19 presented by general secretary and treasurer, respectively, and approve programs and activities for the coming fiscal year.

Election for the new executive committee will begin after the AGM is over.

TAAN, which was established in 1979, is a leading tourism association of the country. Its membership base increased after the government authorized it to issue Trekkers’ Information Management System (TIMS) permit for trekkers. TAAN gets a share of the permit fee paid by trekkers. But many say the association has failed to make proper use of the money which would have otherwise gone to the government coffers.

Observers say TAAN’s stature started waning after it started spending its share from TIMS permits. Interestingly, resolving TIMS issue features in agenda of both the panels that are contesting Friday’s election.

 

Yogesh Bhattarai appointed tourism minister

The government has appointed Yogesh Bhattarai as the Minister for Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation.

The government has appointed Yogesh Bhattarai as the Minister for Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation.

Bhattarai is a standing committee member of the ruling Nepal Communist Party and a lawmaker representing Taplejung district in eastern Nepal.

President Bidya Devi Bhandari administered the oath of office and secrecy to Bhattarai amid a function organized at the President’s Office at Shital Niwas on Wednesday afternoon.

With Bhattarai’s appointment, tourism ministry has finally got a new leader six months after the tragic death of the then minister Rabindra Adhikari in a chopper crash in Taplejung district.

Yogesh Bhattarai is regarded one of the most influential youth leaders in the ruling Nepal Communist Party. He has not taken any ministerial post or any other political appointments so far. So, there are many who feel that this stint as tourism minister will be his real test.

The new job, however, will not be a cakewalk for this promising young leader. Ailing Nepal Airlines Corporation (NAC), which has been failing to make proper use of the four newly-procured Airbus series aircraft, Tribhuvan International Airport (TIA) expansion works, and the Visit Nepal Year 2020 campaign will be his foremost challenges. Likewise, arranging new flight routes for the under-construction Gautam Buddha International Airport in Lumbini and Pokhara Regional International Airport, as well as environmental issues surrounding the proposed second international airport in Nijgadh of Bara will be other challenges for the new minister.

The new job, however, will not be a cakewalk for this promising young leader. Ailing Nepal Airlines Corporation (NAC), which has been failing to make proper use of the four newly-procured Airbus series aircraft, Tribhuvan International Airport (TIA) expansion works, and the Visit Nepal Year 2020 campaign will be his foremost challenges. Likewise, arranging new flight routes for the under-construction Gautam Buddha International Airport in Lumbini and Pokhara Regional International Airport, as well as environmental issues surrounding the proposed second international airport in Nijgadh of Bara will be other challenges for the new minister.

Also looking after culture portfolio, he will have to ensure that reconstruction of historical monuments is completed on time. Likewise, he will also have to focus on conservation of UNESCO World Heritage sites as UNESCO has already threatened to delist them if needful conservation measures are not take on time.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thamel warms up for TAAN election

Thamel — the tourist hotspot in Kathmandu — is getting warmer with every passing day after Nepal’s largest tourism association — Trekking Agencies’ Association of Nepal (TAAN) — announced dates for election for its new executive committee.

Thamel — the tourist hotspot in Kathmandu — is getting warmer with every passing day after Nepal’s largest tourism association — Trekking Agencies’ Association of Nepal (TAAN) — announced dates for election for its new executive committee.

TAAN, which boasts of nearly 1,400 members, is holding an election for the new executive committee in Kathmandu on September 6. The new executive committee will have a tenure of two years.

Holding election is a normal democratic practice. But, in tourism industry in general and TAAN in particular, the election is much more than that. It’s a nearly Rs 50 million show-offs, with TAAN Secretariat spending nearly Rs 2.5 million to hold the election and contesting panels spending nearly Rs 2-2.5 million on series of dinners and cocktail parties to woo voters. Many candidates pay a membership renewal fee of the companies to secure their votes.

A snap survey of past elections of TAAN conducted by eTravelPress shows, the panels contesting in the election are affiliated to or close to two major political parties of the country — CPN-UML (which has now become Nepal Communist Party after the merger with UCPN (Maoist) and Nepali Congress). As Nepal Communist Party is much stronger compared to Nepali Congress after the merger with UCPN (Maoist), the panel supported by Nepal Communist Party might have upper hand in the elections this year.

Holding election is a normal democratic practice. But, in tourism industry in general and TAAN in particular, election is much more than that. It’s a nearly Rs 5 million show-off, with TAAN Secretariat spending nearly Rs 2.5 million to hold the election and contesting panels spending nearly Rs 2-2.5 million on series of dinners and cocktail parties to woo voters.

But observers say it won’t be a cakewalk for the Communist panel, as tourism organizations of the then CPN-UML and UCPN (Maoist) have yet to unify even though the parties have merged. Also, the then CPN-UML and UCPN (Maoist) had different factions which makes things further difficult for the pro-Communist panel. So, it will be difficult to have a common candidate. In such a scenario, floor-crossing cannot be ruled out. Floor-crossing was seen during the election of Nepal Mountaineering Association.

The panel close to Nepali Congress, however, will not have such a dilemma. However, there are too many aspirants.

ASPIRANTS
Tourism organization affiliated to Nepal Communist Party is likely to field one among Sagar Pandey, Rajendra Sapkota, Kumar Thapa, Tej Bahadur Gurung, Hari Dharel, and Ganesh Simkhada as the presidential candidate for TAAN election. Of them, Simkhada has already said that he would contest the election. Similarly, there are many presidential hopefuls in the tourism organization close to Nepali Congress. Some of them are Khum Bahadur Subedi, Lilabaldab Dahal ‘Kaka’, Nilhari Bastola and Mohan Lamsal.

WHO SELECTS CANDIDATES?
Nepal National Tourism Entrepreneurs Association, which is close to the ruling Nepal Communist Party, selects candidates for the pro-communist panel. Nepal Communist Party Central Committee Member Surya Thapa, who heads the tourism wing of the party, will have a major say in the selection of candidates.
Similarly, National Entrepreneurs Association for Tourism-Nepal (NEAT Nepal) selects the candidates for the pro-Congress panel. NEAT Nepal Founding President Deepak Mahat will have the major say in the selection of candidates as the party has not named head of its tourism wing.

Number of five-star hotels rises to 15

The number of five-star hotels in the country has risen to 15 after Aloft Kathmandu Thamel got approval from the Department of Tourism on Monday.


The number of five-star hotels in the country has risen to 15 after Aloft Kathmandu Thamel got approval from the Department of Tourism on Monday, according to Annapurna Post daily.

Aloft Kathmandu Hotel will be managed by Aloft Hotels — a US-based hotel chain owned by Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide.

Aloft Kathmandu is the newest five-star property in Kathmandu. Aloft has 177 rooms. It has already signed a contract with Macau-based gaming company to run a casino on its premises. Aloft is one of the attractions in Chhaya Center Kathmandu which is being marketed as a Thamel inside Thamel. Aloft Hotel has been opened with an investment of Rs 5.5 million, according to the promoters.

Investment in hotels in Nepal has seen a surge after the 2015 earthquakes. Many international hotel chains entered Nepal expecting healthy growth in tourists arrivals post-earthquake.
Couple of months ago, Marriott Kathmandu Hotel started operations in Kathmandu. Marriott also manages a four-star property, Fairfield by Marriott, in Kathmandu.

Similarly, two more five-star hotels — Kathmandu Sheraton Hotel and Double Tree by Hilton — are under construction. Outside Kathmandu Valley, Hotel Garima of Itahari and Hotel Mechi Crown, which are under construction, also plan to apply for five-star certification.

Applications of Hotel Pawan Palace of Lumbini and Hotel Grande Prince of Jhapa for five-star rating are under study at the Department of Tourism, according to officials.

Likewise, Hotel Crown Plaza of Kohalpur and Soaltee Westend Premier of Nepalgunj have also received five-star certification from the Department of Tourism.