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).

Nepal prepares to sign ASA with Australia

The government is planning to sign Air Service Agreement (ASA) with Australia and revise existing ASAs with Unite Arab Emirates and Thailand as it gears up to improve connectivity ahead of Visit Nepal Year 2020 campaign.

The government is planning to sign Air Service Agreement (ASA) with Australia and revise existing ASAs with Unite Arab Emirates and Thailand as it gears up to improve connectivity ahead of Visit Nepal Year 2020 campaign.

According to tourism ministry officials, the two countries have agreed in principle to operate seven weekly flights. Discussions are also being made for allowing Nepali airlines to fly to Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and Perth.

A tourism ministry source say discussions are also going on about including provisions like fifth freedom, unrestricted cargo an code-sharing, among others, in the agreement.

Fifth freedom right allows airlines to put down and take on passengers coming from or flying to a third state. For example, Druk Air of Bhutan coming from Paro can pick up passengers from Kathmandu Airport and fly them to New Delhi and vice versa.

The ASA will pave the way for Nepal Airlines Corporation (NAC) to fly to Australian destinations. It plans to operate A330-200 to Australia.Meanwhile, Nepal is holding talks to revise its ASA with UAE. Nepal is hoping to raise flights between the two countreis from 28 flights per week. Nepal and UAE first signed the ASA in 1999.

Similarly, the ministry is working to revise ASA with Thailand.

Earlier on June 18, Nepal revised its ASA with Japan. The revised ASA allows Nepali airlines to operate 14 flights a week to Japan. The agreement also allows Nepali airlines to operate flights to all major airports of Japan, except Haneda which is the main airport serving Tokyo. Japan has also given fifth freedom right to Nepali carriers.

Npal has signed ASAs with 38 countries so far.

NAC takes delivery of 1st of two Airbus A330-200

The first of the two Airbus A330-200 aircraft ordered by Nepal Airlines Corporation (NAC) arrived at the Tribhuvan International Airport (TIA) in Kathmandu on Thursday.

The Airbus A330-200 aircraft sits on the tarmac of Tribhuvan International Airport in Kathmandu. (All photos: Achyut Puri)

The first of the two Airbus A330-200 aircraft ordered by Nepal Airlines Corporation (NAC) arrived at the Tribhuvan International Airport (TIA) in Kathmandu on Thursday.

The wide-body aircraft, named Annapunra — or the goddess of bounty in Nepali — was given a customary water cannon salute at the TIA.

The second Airbus A330-200 aircraft is expected to join the NAC’s flee next month.

Both the aircraft are powered by Rolls-Royce Trent 700 engines and feature a two-class cabin configuration that will seat a total of 274 passengers — 18 in business class and 256 in economy class.

NAC has already signed Total Care Contract with Rolls-Royce for overall maintenance of the wide-body jets.

Both the aircraft were initially ordered by Hi Fly — a Portugese aircraft leasing company. NAC purchased the aircraft through US-based company AAR Corp.

NAC has alreay said that Dubai will be the maien

NAC has borrowed Rs24 billion from the Citizen Investment Trust (CIT) and the Employees Provident Fund (EPF) to buy the jets.

This is the first time that a wide-body jet has been inducted in the fleet of a Nepali carrier. Two years ago NAC acquired two Airbus A320-200 series aircraft. It has already got approval from the board to induct two Airbus A320neo aircraft for short-haul flights.

NAC operates a fleet of two Airbus A320-200 and an ageing Boeing 757 aircraft for international flights. It plans to sell the Boeign after inucting two A320neo aircraft.

‘Visit Nepal Year 2020’ logo unveiled

The Visit Nepal Year 2020 (VNY 2020) Main Organizing Committee has unveiled the logo for the Government of Nepal’s campaign Visit Nepal Year 2020 (VNY2020). 

The Visit Nepal Year 2020 (VNY 2020) Main Organizing Committee has unveiled the logo for the Government of Nepal’s campaign Visit Nepal Year 2020 (VNY2020).

The 1st meeting of the VNY2020 main organizing committee chaired by Minister for Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation Mr Rabindra Adhikari unveiled the logo.

Issuing a statement, Nepal Tourism Board (NTB) said that the logo truly depicts Nepal’s ethos and vibes and stands true to the message — ‘Visit Nepal for Lifetime Experiences’. The logo will be used as the main promotional branding of the VNY2020 Campaign, it added.

The logo, which was designed by Uddhab Rimal from Boudha, Kathmandu, was selected from 145 entries of the VNY2020 logo competition announced through Facebook by Nepal Tourism Board on April 10, 2018. The winner will receive a cash prize of Rs. 100,000.

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.