… it's all about tourism
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By Kishor Basnyat/eTravelPress

HTM1

President Bidhya Devi Bhandari inaugurates the Himalayan Travel Mart.

Himalayan Travel Mart (HTM) 2017 has concluded in Kathmandu on a promising note.

Commenting on the mart, renowned travel entrepreneurs and personalities have focused on integrated approach and joint efforts to develop tourism industry keeping in view the changing travel trends in hospitality industry in the world. Similarly, keynote speakers representing different international tourism organizations focused on the need to forge collective efforts and make effective use of social media to get more tourists.

The three-day mart was inaugurated by President Bidya Devi Bhandari amid a colorful ceremony at Soaltee Crowne Plaza, Kathmandu. In her inaugural address, the President said that she was hopeful that the HTM, which was organized with the objective of promoting Nepal as the gateway to the Himalays, would contribute to promote Nepal’s tourism all over the world.

Speaking at the inaugural ceremony, Ashwini Lobani, the managing director of Air India, suggested Nepali travel fraternity to focus on information technology, security and connectivity, as well as development of infrastructure to get more benefits from tourism.

At the program, tourism secretary Shankar Prasad Adhikary, who is also the chairman of the HTM Organizing Committee, made a presentation on ‘Nepal, Gateway to the Himalaya’, where he talked about Nepal’s major tourism products and services.

Similarly, Andrew Jones, the immediate past chairman of Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA), said the HTM was a continuation of PATA’s commitment to the development of responsible and sustainable tourism in Nepal and the region.

Likewise, President of Adventure Tour Operators Association of India, Swadesh Kumar, highlighted on different aspects of fastest adventure tourism sector and stressed the ensure safety standards.

Another attraction of the event, was a fireside chat between PATA CEO Mario Hardy and CEO of NTB Deepak Raj Joshi. The chat was moderated by BBC correspondent Yogita Limahe. The chat focused on the role of social media in tourism promotion.

In the Himalayan Tourism Conference, which was organized on the sidelines of the event, global editor of WikiTrends –US, Daniel Levine; leader of the first Singapore Everest Expedition 1998, David Lim; founder of Mountain High, Dubai, Julie Lewis; former CEO of NTB, Prachanda Man Shrestha, chairman of Stic Travel Group of India, Subash Goyal; hotelier and motivational speaker of Thailand, Bert Van Walbeek; and founder of Mountain Travel and promoter of Nepal tourism, Robin Marston, presented their papers on Himalayan tourism , mountaineering  and development .

In the second session of the conference, PATA CEO, Mario Hardy; Hong Kong-based chief of destination marketing and sales at Trip Advisor, Sarah Matthews; founder and CEO of e-Tourism Frontiers of South Africa, Damian Cook; and President of Tang Dynasty Tours-China, Michael Zhou presented their papers on innovation and marketing.

Meanwhile, Himalayan Travel Mart (HTM) 2017 was organized at Park Village Resort, Budhanilkantha, on June 1. More than 100 international bloggers and journalists attended the conference. Most of them also participated in the pre-mart tours, travelling to different parts of the country. They also shared their travel experiences at the program.

Buyers of 53 countries from Asia, Europe, North America, South America and Australia attended the B2B session. There were 43 seller companies.

Langtang Marathon

Athletes post for a photo before the inauguration of 2nd TAAN Int’l Langtang Marathon in Kyanjing Gompa, Rasuwa, on April 25. (Photo: TAAN)

Hom Lal Shrestha and Sarita Basi – both from Nepal Army – have won the men’s and women’s category, respectively, of 2nd Trekking Agencies’ Association of Nepal (TAAN) International Langtang Marathon held in Langtang Region of Rasuwa district on April 25.
While Shrestha completed the 42.5 kilometers marathon in 3 hours and 34 minutes, it took 21-year-old Basi 5 hours and 13 minutes to reach the finishing line.
Similarly, Rajan Khatri (3 hours and 37 minutes) and Bed Bahadur Sunuwar (3 hours and 38 minute) finished the race in second and third positions, respectively, in the men’s category. Likewise, Resu Basnet (5 hours and 16 minutes) and Pushpa Bhandari (5 hours and 28 minutes) were first runner-up and second runner-up, respectively, in the women’s category.
Keshav Bahadur Bista, the member secretary of Nepal Sports Council (NSC) handed over cash prize, medal and certificates to winners, first runners-up and second runners-up. While the winners in both the categories took home cash prize of Rs 100,000, the first runner-ups and second runner-ups of both the categories became richer by Rs 75,000 and Rs 50,000, respectively.
Altogether 102 participants – 88 male and 14 female athletes – participated in the event that began at Kyanjin Gompa and passed through Langtang village, Lama Hotel, Rimche, Sherpa Gaon and Bridim before concluding at Syafrubesi.
According to the organizer, the marathon was organized to disseminate the message world over that Langtang Region as a safe destination for trekkers. Also, the event was aimed at encouraging the local tourism entrepreneurs to revive their business, which was completely halted following the devastating earthquakes of 2015.
TAAN had organized half-marathon in the region in 2016. The half-marathon began at the Gosaikunda Lake and concluded at Dhunche – the district headquarters of Rasuwa.

Nnattaepal Association of Tour and Travel Agents (NATTA) has condemned the decision to distribute bonus to the staffers of Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal (CAAN).

Issuing a statement on Monday, the umbrella association of Nepali travel agents said that the decision taken by former tourism minister Jeevan Bahadur Shahi, who also chairs the board of directors of CAAN, was against CAAN Act 1996, Bonus Act 1973 and Bonus Rules 1982.

“The decision has thrown cold water on our hope that CAAN would spend the money collected from air passengers to build new airports, upgrade facilities at existing airports and build necessary infrastructure at Tribhuvan International Airport (TIA), NATTA said.

NATTA has also reminded that the European Union (EU) and International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) have kept Nepali airlines in blacklist as CAAN has not upgraded infrastructure of TIA and improved safety standards.

The awardees (front row) at a photo call with dignitaries in Pokhara on Sunday. Photo: VITOF nepal

The awardees (front row) at a photo call with dignitaries in Pokhara on Sunday. Photo: VITOF nepal

The Pokhara Chapter of Village Tourism Promotion Forum (VITOF) Nepal on Sunday honored three individuals committed to promoting village tourism.

Nepal Tourism Board (NTB) CEO Deepak Raj Joshi and Taranath Pahari, chairman of VITOF Pokhara, jointly conferred ‘Excellent Leadership Award’ on Jum Gurung – tourism coordinator of Sirubari village of Syangja, Prem Ghale – Chairman of Ghalegaun Tourism Development Committee of Lamjung, and Sushila Devi Gurung, Chairperson of Chitre Community Homestay of Parbat.

Speaking at the program, Joshi said Nepal held tremendous in rural tourism activities. On the occasion, he also hailed the contribution of late Captain Rudraman Gurung – the pioneer of homestay tourism in Nepal.

He also unveiled plan to organized Rural Tourism Mart in Pokhara in the second week of April. The mart is being organized in coordinatioin with VITOF for promoting tourism activities in rural areas.

Meanwhile, VITOF Pokhara has announced a journalism award in memory of late Rudraman. The ‘Rudraman Memorial Tourism Journalism Award’ carries a purse of Rs 11,111 and will be handed over to journalists based in western region.

Timal 1

Participants of the fam trip pose for a group photo on the bank of Sunkoshi River.

Trekking Agencies’ Association of Nepal (TAAN) organized a familiarization trip to the Timal region of on August 6 and 7.

The organization has unveiled plan to build Tourism Memorial Park there.

Altogether 16 journalists affiliated to different print, broadcast and online media participated in the fam trip.

Similarly, a representative of Nepal Tourism Board (NTB), senior officer Santosh Ghimire, as well as executive members of Trekking Agencies’ Association of Nepal (TAAN) were in the team.

Timal 2

TAAN General Secretary Karna Bahadur Lama speaking at a welcome program organized by the locals.

The journey began from TAAN Secretariat in Maligaun and progressed along the Araniko Highway before stopping at Panchkhal and taking a right road to Thulo Parsel VDC via Hokse village of Kavre. Thulo Parsel VDC situated on the top of a hill above Sunkoshi River.

Local villages accorded a warm welcome to the participants at Thulo Parsel. Dressed in typical Tamang attire, locals sang their traditional songs amid beating of drums called Damphu. A panche baja group led the participants to the lunch point where the Thulo Parsel VDC and Timal Damphu Youth organized a cultural program in honor of all the participants. The main attraction of the program was the Shaman dance. Three shamans performed shamanic rituals amid beating of traditional drums and chanting of the sacred mantras.

After lunch, the participants embarked on a short hiking to the proposed site of ‘TAAN Tourism Memorial Park’ in Chanpkhori VDC. The participants also got to learn about Buddha chitta beads – one of the fastest growing exports of Kavre district in recent times – during the hiking.

Timal 3

Proposed site of Tourism Memorial Park in Chanpkhori VDC of Kavre.

A formal program was organized at the proposed site on the second day. Speaking at the program,
TAAN 1st Vice President Tej Bahadur Gurung said that TAAN was committed to build the tourism memorial park. “We are holding discussion for the same with different government agencies. The park will materialize soon,” he added.

Likewise, TAAN General Secretary Karna Bahadur Lama said that a monument will be erected in the park in memory of trekkers, mountaineers and Nepali support staff who lost their lives in course of trekking and mountaineering activities in Nepal. Lama further added that by building a monument in memory of the deceased trekkers, TAAN aims to convey the message to their family members that Nepal has not forgotten them. He further added that a museum, documenting Tamang history, culture and tradition, and tree plantation area will be the other major attractions of the park.

Similarly, TAAN Media Coordinator Surya Bahadur Ghimire said TAAN chose Timal to build the tourism memorial park as the place lies on the Great Buddhist Master Trail which the TAAN had explored some years before.

Timal 4Despite having immense tourism potentials, the Timal region is yet to welcome desired number of foreign visitors. Rafting in Sunkoshir River, canyoning, caving, agro-tourism, pleasant weather conditions, ancient Tamang kingdom, Kot Timal, Rimpoche caves and the Narayansthan temple are the major attraction of the area. Similarly, the Buddhist Master Circuit Trail, which passes through the region, is the other attraction of the trek.

TAAN had explored two trekking trails in the region – Rhododendron Mahabharat Trail and The Great Buddhist Master Trail

TAAN 1st Vice President Tej Bahadur Gurung, 2nd Vice President Ram Prasad Sapkota, Secretary Mukti Pandey and Joint Treasurer Krishna Man Shrestha as well as Executive Members Sarita Lama, Wangchu Sherpa, Pemba Sherpa ‘Sangam’, Surya Bahadur Ghimire and Dawa Lama were in the fam trip.

Timal 5

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