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.

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.

PATA Nepal Students Chapter organizes futsal tourney

PATA Nepal Student Chapter organized ‘PATA Futsal Tournament 2019’ on January 5 with support from PATA Nepal Chapter and Nepal Tourism Board.

PATA Nepal Student Chapter organized ‘PATA Futsal Tournament 2019’ on January 5 with support from PATA Nepal Chapter and Nepal Tourism Board.

The tournament was organized under the theme “Play for Tourism” as inter-college tournament amongst PATA Nepal Chapter Member Colleges with an aim to develop friendship and close working relationships between PATAns\Young Tourism Professionals who seek the opportunity and platform of youth engagement for the sustainable development of tourism, according to a statement issued by PATA Nepal Chapter. Nine colleges participated in the tournament.
Gateway College of Professional Studies (Boys) and Nepal Academy of Tourism and Hotel Management (Girls) became champions, defeating Silver Mountain College and NCTTM College, respectively. The winning teams received trophy, medals, certificates, and cash prize of Rs 10,000, whereas the first runners-up teams received cash prize of Rs 5,000.

PATA Nepal Chapter Chairman Sunil Sakya congratulated all the students and PATA Nepal team for the wonderful teambuilding initiative through this futsal tournament, and he emphasized for the need for the same spirit and practices of joint collaboration and forward movements that are very crucial in achieving the envisaged target of 2 million by 2020.

Speaking at the closing ceremony, NTB CEO Deepak Raj Joshi inspired students emphasizing on halth, discipline, and team building as the three fundamentals of each game, and congratulated PATA Nepal Student Chapter team for maintaining and successfully organizing the tournament from all aspects.
PATA Nepal Chapter Suresh Singh Budal informed that the tournament has inspired to foster mutual cooperation, brotherhood, and teambuilding among the members of PATA Nepal Student Chapters at different educational institutions in Nepal.

Buddhist International Travel Mart in Lumbini from Jan 10

A three-day Buddhist International Travel Mart is being organized in Lumbini with the objective of promoting Lumbini as the center of Buddhist tourism activities.
The event will be held in the birthplace of Buddha from January 10-12.

A three-day Buddhist International Travel Mart is being organized in Lumbini with the objective of promoting Lumbini as the center of Buddhist tourism activities.
The event will be held in the birthplace of Buddha from January 10-12.

Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation and Nepal Tourism Board (NTB) are the main organizers of the event while NATTA is the implementing agency.

According to Achyut Sharma Guaragain – the 1st vice president of NATTA and the coordinator of BITM, there will be 50 national and international buyer companies.”Similarly, similar number of Nepali tour operators and other service providers will showcase their tourism products and services before international and domestic buyers,” he added.

Buddhist conference, interaction programs and B2B session are the main features of BITM, according to the organizers.

The organizers are also inviting travel bloggers, influences and media representatives from several countries.

Speaking at the press meet, Tourism Secretary Krishna Prasad Devkota said that the event will help to promote Lumbini as the main Buddhist tourism destination in the international market. “Lumbini is a holy land for millions of Buddhist pilgrims all over the world. But only a few visitors spend night here. The event is aimed at extending their stay in Lumbini,” he added. He also said that the travel mart will also be important for the Gautam Buddha International Airport which is starting operation by 2019.

Likewise, Deepak Raj Joshi CEO of NTB, said that he was hopeful that BITM will promote Lumbini in the international market. “Once the Gautam Buddha International Airport comes into operation, we can attract more Buddhist pilgrims to Lumbini,” he added.

NATTA President CN Pandey said that they intend to make BITM an annual event in Nepali tourism calendar.

NMA celebrates 45th anniversary

Nepal Mountaineering Association (NMA) celebrated its 45th anniversary on Thursday by organizing a ceremony in Kathmandu. Tourism Secretary Krishna Prasad Sapkota inaugurated the anniversary celebration by cutting a cake. Speaking at the program, Secretary Sapkota lauded efforts being put by NMA for the promotion of mountaineering and adventure tourism in Nepal. “I request the association […]

Nepal Mountaineering Association (NMA) celebrated its 45th anniversary on Thursday by organizing a ceremony in Kathmandu.

Tourism Secretary Krishna Prasad Sapkota inaugurated the anniversary celebration by cutting a cake.

Speaking at the program, Secretary Sapkota lauded efforts being put by NMA for the promotion of mountaineering and adventure tourism in Nepal. “I request the association to come forward with proposal for promotion of new peaks,” he added.

On the occasion, NMA President Santabir Lama gave a brief insight into the history of NMA, and said that the government should give due recognition to efforts put by NMA for production of trained manpower for the adventure tourism industry of Nepal and development and promotion of adventure tourism.

Former Minister of State for Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation Yankila Sherpa, Nepal Tourism Board (NTB) Board Members Deepak Mahat and Krishna Kumar Aryal, NTB CEO Deepak Raj Joshi and representatives of different travel trade associations were present at the program.

Established in 1973, NMA is the national alpine club of Nepal. Apart from providing mountaineering training and issuing permits of some trekking peaks, NMA operates International Mountaineers Memorial Park at Kakani and International Mountain Museum in Pokhara and provides needful support to mountaineers.