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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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.

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.

Kathmandu featured in Lonely Planet’s best cities list

Popular travel guidebook Lonely Planet has included Kathmandu in its ‘Best in Travel 2019: Top Cities’ list.

File photo of Kathmandu Durbar Square.

Popular travel guidebook Lonely Planet has included Kathmandu in its ‘Best in Travel 2019: Top Cities’ list.

Kathmandu features at 5th position on the list of 10 cities across the world “primed to capture travelers’ imaginations”, according to Lonely Planet.

“In the aftermath of the 2015 earthquake, news reports from Kathmandu showed

a city broken and in mourning, but today the narrative is all about reconstruction and rejuvenation,” the guide book writes, adding: “Sure, there’s work to do restoring the magnificent monuments that crumbled during the disaster, but historic sites are being returned to their former glory, and moves to calm the city’s infamous traffic, smog and noise have made Kathmandu more liveable than it has been in decades.

There’s even reliable electricity as wi-fi as bonus creature comforts in the atmospheric and maze-like alleyways of the old city.
Copenhagen, the capital of Denmark, tops the list followed by Shenzhen (China), Novi Sad (serbia), Miami (US), Kathmandu (Nepal), Mexico City (Mexico), Dakar (Senegal), Seattle (US), Zadar (Croatia) and Meknes (Morocco).

 

 

World Tourism Day celebration in pictures

Nepal celebrated World Tourism Day 2018 by organizing various programs in different parts of the country. The theme of this year’s celebration was ‘Tourism and the Digital Transformation’. Different travel trade associations joined hands with the government to celebrate the day. Some glimpses of the celebrations:

Nepal celebrated World Tourism Day 2018 by organizing various programs in different parts of the country.

The theme of this year’s celebration was ‘Tourism and the Digital Transformation’. Different travel trade associations joined hands with the government to celebrate the day.

Some glimpses of the celebrations:

Girls draped in traditional attire ready to welcome guests attending a program organized jointly by Tourism Ministry and Nepal Tourism Board.

Nepal Tourism Board CEO Deepak Raj Joshi and others welcoming the first group of tourists landing at Tribhuvan International Airport in Kathmandu.

Representatives of tourism enterprises awarded on the day.

Three Best Village Tourism Destinations were also awarded during World Tourism Day celeberations.

Himalaya Expeditions gave away different awards to personalities supporting Tenzing Hillary Everest Marathon and Lumbini PEACE Marathon.

Tourism Minister Rabindra Adhikari leading a hiking program organized from Kakani to Suryachaur by Trekking Agencies’ Association of Nepal.

Nepal Mountaineering Association awarded representative of top agents during its AGM that coincided with World Tourism Day.