Nepal Tour News —

Kathmandu: Tamankhola Rural Municipality of Baglung district will be promoted as a new tourism destination, according to the trekking operators.

Trekking Agencies’ Association of Nepal (TAAN) has started exploring the trekking route from Brudhibang, Baraha Lake, Gurjaghat, Narja, Nau Dalle Hill and Shole, till the terrain of Durkhel Hill in Tamankhola Rural Municipality of Baglung .

Tamankhola, one of the rural municipalities among four municipality and six rural municipality of Baglung district, Province No. 4. It is the only one rural municipality that is connected with Dhorpatan Hunting Reserve Area.

Traveling from Kathmandu to Bhayarbunga crossing a distance of 370 km. , travelers can view the beautiful Baraha Lake situated at the altitude of 2633 m. The trekking route consists maximum altitude of 3450 m.

Tourists can take pleasure in observing the views of Mt. Dhaulagiri, Mt. Machapuchare, Mt. Annapurna along with Mt. Nilgiri on the Northern side of Baraha Lake.

Similarly, panoramic views of Mt. Sisney, Mt. Chure, Mt. Annapurna, Mt. Dhaulagiri and other Himalayas can be observed from Nau Dalle Hill. The area is rich in flora and fauna as well.

The village having diverse arts and cultures consists ethnic people like Chhantyal, Magar, Dalit, Brahman, Chhetri and Darji.

Coordinator of Destination Research and Promotion Dept. Suk Bahadur Lama has completed the study of new tourism destination at Tamankhola Rural Municipality.

President of Tamankhola Rural Municiaplity Joglal Budha Magar stated that the views of various Himalayas observed from Baraha Lake and Nau Dalle Hill can attract international and domestic tourists.

Cartographer of Himalayan Map House Krishna Maharjan stresses on developing necessary infrastructures on the trekking rote to keep the trekkers safe.

June 27, 2018

Image: Raju Thapa Magar

Opinion —

A press release issued by the Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation in Nepal has announced the launch of an official Special Investigation Unit that will be looking into the activities of more than 500 expedition, trekking and helicopter companies in the country who are accused of corruption and price-fixing through unnecessary and fictitious helicopter rescues to defraud the travel insurance industry out of millions of dollars. Jonathan Bancroft, Managing Director of Traveller Assist Ltd, which provides medical assistance and cost containment services in Nepal, said he was proud to support the efforts of the Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation.

The company’s campaign to end the issue of helicopter evacuation fraud in Nepal began in August 2017, when Traveller Assist – in a joint venture with an Australia-based insurer – sent Operations Manager Forest Williams to Kathmandu to assess the level of care being provided in hospitals, and to ascertain why the 2017 spring climbing season had been the most expensive on record for medical claims, particularly for helicopter rescues and evacuations. “We learned a lot from the 2017 high-season [Oct-Nov]. It was the busiest year on record since the 2015 Nepal earthquake. This gave us the opportunity to try-and-test different methods to facilitate and improve rescue and evacuation missions,” said Williams.

Last year, a record 940,000 visitors arrived in Nepal and within the last three months of 2017, Traveller Assist provided medical assistance for over 250 travellers from the UK, Australia, New Zealand, Canada, and the United States – 37 of which involved a helicopter evacuation. After further investigation, it was found that 30 per cent of these evacuations were completely unnecessary.

Bancroft explained the situation to AirMed&Rescue Magazine: “A typical scenario that we have seen repeated again and again: a traveller on an expedition complains of a headache. The expedition leader calls for a helicopter. The helicopter arrives and provides an evac, with an agreement to pay the expedition company a commission. The helicopter company then flies the patient to a hospital, where in turn they are promised a commission by the hospital. The patient, who remember only complained of a headache, is then admitted for observation, and given blood tests, X-rays, and in some cases, even an MRI and EKG.” A helicopter rescue and inpatient medical bill is then presented to the travel insurance company, which at the time has no choice but to seek a medical opinion or direct care. In some cases, the bill for the helicopter evacuation and medical care can total more than $20,000. “It’s a racket that’s tantamount to fraud, and it’s happening on a large scale throughout Nepal,” said Bancroft.

Spearheaded by the company’s Head of Assistance, Danny Kaine, the first task for Traveller Assist was to create a chart of all helicopter companies registered in the country, and then ascertain which companies actually owned helicopters, and which ones just rented them. “Stands to reason,” noted Bancroft, “that the cost to charter a helicopter from the owners is less than renting it from a company who in-turn rented it from the owners.”

The second task was to visit the senior management of every hospital in Nepal that was suspected of over treating patients in their facilities, and of paying helicopter companies a commission to receive these patients in the first place. With a letter signed by four major insurance companies – which in turn manage 27 brands and collectively insure over three million travellers worldwide – Traveller Assist was authorised to deny a claim on their behalf if fraud was suspected.

Bancroft said: “With the intelligence we had gathered, and the support we received from our clients, I reached out to request a meeting with a representative at the Department of Tourism in Nepal, where I was authorised to disclose that a major underwriter was considering the option of no longer offering travel insurance in the region due to the sheer amount of fraudulent claims, which would have a major effect on the economy of Nepal.”

In what the company says is an industry first in Nepal, Traveller Assist has created an agreement and established a line of communication with helicopter companies, whereby if it is called on to evacuate a traveller who is covered by an insurer on its list of clients, it calls its regional operations centre in Kathmandu, whereupon the in-house doctor or nurse assesses whether the patient requires an evacuation or not.

Bancroft pointed out that this strategy is already having a positive effect: “So far in 2018, we have successfully managed to capture 65 per cent of helicopter evacuation cases insured by our clients, and 40 per cent of medical assistance cases, before a service was provided – meaning that we got to assess the patient, and direct care before a single helicopter charge or medical bill was created. While these numbers will never reach 100 per cent due to various factors, we do think we can get them closer to 80 per cent based on this season’s results.”

Fast forward to the end of the 2018 spring climbing season, and Traveller Assist has provided medical assistance for over 800 cases and stopped over 100 unnecessary helicopter evacuations from happening in Nepal.

Courtesy : AirMed and Rescue magazine / UK

June 25 , 2018

Image : Tenzing - Hilary Airport , Lukla / AirMed&Rescue

NepalTourNews —

Pokhara : Minister for Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation Rabindra Adhikari has asserted that the construction of Pokhara Airport will not be halted .

Minister Adhikari clarified at a press conference that although the experts have furnished many recommendations concerning the construction of the Airport, no recommendations suggest halting its construction .He said that a 180-seater aircraft would soon land at the under-construction Airport in Pokhara.

He was confident that the construction of the Airport would be completed by 2021 and a budget worth 11 billion has been allocated in the current fiscal year for it.

On the progress in air traffic management, he cited the operation of the only International Airport in the country-Tribhuvan International Airport- for continuous 21 hours.

He said that the concerned authority would make sure that the high quality aircraft would bring in high-end tourists to Pokhara.

He said that the government was preparing to launch five-year plan and programmes within this month. Preparations were afoot for observing Visit Nepal 2020 aimed at attracting as many as 2 million tourists in the country.

Last week, he clarified that International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) has removed Nepal’s aviation sector from the Significant Safety Concern (SSC) list.

“Nepal has been eliminated from the ICAO’s Significant Safety Concern List. The ICAO has been keeping an eye on the air space and the functionaries of its 192 member nations. In it’s 2013 audit report, Nepal was enlisted in Significant Safety Concern (SSC) list and Nepal’s compliance to the ICAO’s standard at that time stood only at 55 percent out of the standard 60 percent. In regard to this, the attempts made by the government of Nepal and the International Aviation Organization have leaped forward to 66.08 percent which can be regarded as the most significant progress,” he apprised the parliament recently.

Source : RSS / Agencies

June 2018

 

 

NepalTourNews —

Kathmandu: Nepal and China have signed 14 bilateral agreements including railway connectivity from Kerung to Kathmandu.

Chinese Prime Minister Li Keqiang and Nepal’s Prime Minister KP Oli witnessed the signing of a total of 14 bilateral agreements/MoUs/Letter of Exchanges.

The agreements include  MOU on Energy Co-operation; MOU on Investment and Co-operation on Production Capacity; MOU on Strengthening Co-operation between the two Foreign Ministries; MOU on the Establishment of Mechanism for Facilitation on the Implementation of Nepal-China Co-operation Programmes and Projects in Nepal between the two Foreign Ministries; Agreement on Economic and Technical Co-operation; Agreements on the Reconstruction of Friendship Bridge and Rasuwa Bridge; Protocol on the Utilization of  Highways in Tibet Autonomous Region, China by Nepal for Cargo Transport; and MOU on Human Resource Development Co-operation.

Earlier, PM Oli held delegation-level talks with Li Keqiang, Premier of the State Council of the People’s Republic of China at the Great Hall of the People on June 21.

Both sides agreed to enhance bilateral co-operation in connectivity, trade, tourism and investment, including through the implementation of the MoU on Co-operation under the Belt and Road Initiative, among others, according to a statement issued by Embassy of Nepal in Beijing .

Expressing happiness over the signing of the MoU on Co-operation for Railway Connectivity, both sides agreed to intensify co-operation on cross-border railway connectivity.

The two sides agreed to implement the agreements and understandings reached in the past, including the early finalization of the Protocol to the Agreement on Transit Transport.

Earlier , PM Oli met with  Li Zhanshu, Chairman of the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress at the Great Hall of the People.

Lilewise , PM Oli inaugurated ‘Nepal-China Friendship Run’ hosted jointly by the Embassy of Nepal, the State General Administration of Sports and the Beijing Sports University for strengthening people-to-people ties between the two countries.

The Prime Minister is scheduled to leave for Lhasa tomorrow morning and then to Kathmandu on June 24.

June 21, 2018

Image : Inauguration of Nepal-China Friendship Run in Beijing / MOFA

Joint Statement between Nepal and the People’s Republic of China

 

NepalTourNews —

Kathmandu: International tourist arrivals to Nepal increased by 9.6 per cent as compared to the arrival figures of May 2017.

A total of 68,825 international tourists visited Nepal in May 2018, according to the Department of Immigration.

With this, the arrival figures in January - May period reached 454,855, an increase of 12.5 per cent over the same period in 2017.

The arrivals from India grew by 8.6 per cent in May in comparison to the figures of same month in 2017. Visitor arrivals from China continue to soar as in the previous months and grew by 25.2 per cent in May in comparison to the arrivals in the same month last year.

The overall arrivals from the SAARC countries registered a positive growth of 2.2 per cent over the same month last year.

Arrivals from Asia (other than SAARC) have also recorded positive growth of 14.2 per cent. The visitors from Thailand and Singapore to Nepal increased in May this year.

The tourist arrivals from European countries decreased in May. However, France and Germany gained 26.8 per cent and 49 per cent of increment respectively. The arrivals from the UK slightly declined by 7.4 per cent.

Tourist arrivals from USA, Canada, Australia and New Zealand have also increased in May this year as compared to the figures of 2017.

The top source markets in terms of tourist arrivals in may this year were India (21,728), China (9,151), USA (6,982), UK (3,186) and Germany (2,060).

June 20, 2018

Image : Tourists in Patan Durbar Square area / Travel Biz News

NepalTourNews —

Kathmandu: President Xi Jinping has assured China’s full support and cooperation in realizing Nepal’s development goals.

President Xi made this remark in a 20 – minute meeting with the visiting Nepali PM KP Sharma Oli in Beijing today.

“China stands ready to strengthen cooperation with Nepal in infrastructure, connectivity, post-disaster reconstruction, trade and investment within the framework of the Belt and Road initiative, “said President Xi, according to CGTN reports.

Prime Minister Oli called on President of the People’s Republic of China Xi Jinping at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing today.

The two leaders discussed various matters pertaining to bilateral relations and strengthening cooperation in various fields including cross border railway connectivity.

A total of eight MoUs were signed between Nepali agencies and enterprises and their Chinese partners, in the areas of hydropower generation, manufacturing, river training, and agriculture, according to a release issued by MOFA Nepal.

PM Oli , addressing the  ‘2018 Nepal-China Business Forum’ ,urged the Chinese entrepreneurs to  take advantage of investment-friendly policies of the Government for investments in Nepal.

June 20, 2018

NepalTourNews —

Kathmandu:  India has agreed to open three new air routes to Nepal for the operation of international flights.

A joint meeting of the 16 officials of Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal (CAAN) and Airports Authority of India (AAI) held here agreed to develop new cross-border air routes from Janakpur, Biratnagar and Mahendranagar of Nepal.

Both the countries agreed to make the Kathmandu-Biratnagar , Kathmandu- Janakpur and Janakpur-Patna air route two way .

International flights to Nepal can now enter from Janakpur and Biratnagar on the basis of flight security evaluation carried out by both sides. Currently, the only air entry point to Nepal from south was Simara.

Similarly, Kathmandu-Mahendranagar-Delhi air route would be made two-way for aircraft flying in lower altitude, according to a statement issued by CAAN.

International aircrafts flying at high altitude from proposed international airports — Gautam Buddha Int. Airport ,  Pokhara and Nijgadh International Airports - would be provided entry points from Nepalgunj and Mahendranagar from the western side. The detailed technical evaluation would be carried out by September 2018, according to the statement.

Both the countries had agreed to hold technical discussions between concerned authorities regarding new cross- border air routes on December 20-21, 2016.

Talks were carried out between the two countries on technical aspects in line with the joint statement issued to this effect on May 12, 2018 by the Prime Ministers of both countries.

The two Prime Ministers – KP Oli and Narendra Modi -directed the respective officials to expand cooperation in civil aviation sector, including early technical discussion on additional air entry routes to Nepal by respective technical teams in May this year.

June 16 , 2018

By Ballav Dahal —

With the success of many expeditions to Mt. Everest and nominal human casualties on the world’s tallest mountain this spring, Nepal has been highlighted internationally.

During the period, more than 400 climbers from across the world reached the summit of the 8,848-metre peak. Four women journalists from Nepal were also among them.

“A good message about Nepal has been sent globally due to smooth operations of expeditions to Mt. Everest,” said Jiban Ghimire, Managing Director of Shangri-La Nepal Trek.

The adventure tour operating company operated one expedition each to Mt. Everest and Mt. Lhotse this spring. “Both the expeditions were successful. I think that I do not need to do much marketing for the next year,” said Ghimire.

Three Nepali Sherpas and four foreigners died on Everest from Nepal side. “The number of casualties, especially Nepali mountain guides and other field staff, has dropped significantly after the operation of the Khumbu Climbing School in the Khumbu Region,” he said.

The school conducts practical trainings for all the mountaineering field staff for their safety and safe guiding.

There were no Everest expeditions in 2014 and 2015. Expeditions were abandoned after an avalanche killed 16 climbing Sherpas in the Khumbu Icefall in 2014. Many lost their lives in an avalanche at Everest Base Camp due to the devastating earthquake in 2015.

Ishwari Paudel, Managing Director of Himalayan Guide Nepal, said that all the expeditions to Mt. Everest, Mt. Lhotse and Mt. Nuptse were greatly successful.

“This is certainly good news for Nepal. We are hopeful that more mountaineers will be coming to Nepal in 2019,” said Paudel.

Paudel’s company had been entrusted with the responsibility of fixing ropes from Camp II to the summit of Mt. Everest for this year’s spring expeditions.

“As we completed the task on time, it was easier for the expeditions to make their attempts successful,” he said.

Several new world records on mountaineering were also set this spring. The mountaineering activities were given good coverage by international media.

Kami Rita Sherpa of Nepal was among those creating history on Mt. Everest this spring. The 48-year-old Sherpa from Solukhumbu district made it to the world’s tallest mountain 22 times.

Similarly, 45-year-old Lhakpa Sherpa from Sankhuwasabha has set a new record by becoming the first woman in the world to scale Mt. Everest nine times. For the first time, she had reached the summit of Everest in 2000.

Likewise, another Nepali woman Nima Jangbu Sherpa scaled Mt. Kanchenjunga (8586m). She is the first Nepali woman to successfully attempt the world’s third tallest mountain. She is also the first Nepali woman to make it to three mountains above 8,000 metres in a single season. She climbed Mt. Lhotse, Mt. Everest and Mt. Kanchenjunga on April 29, May 14 and May 23, respectively.

Meanwhile, British climber Kenton Cool, 45, climbed Everest 13 times. He is the first Briton to set a new record on the mountain.

Chinese climber Xia Boyu, 70, reached atop the world’s tallest mountain. He is the first double amputee from China to reach the summit.

Similarly, Maria P. Valenzuela, 55, who is also a breast cancer survivor from Chile, conquered Everest. She was a member of the SNT Everest Expedition-Spring 2018.

Another Chilean alpinist Hernan Leal climbed Mt. Everest and Mt. Lhotse in a single season this year.

Australian climber Steve Plain was another record setter on Everest. Steve became the fastest person to climb the highest mountain on each of the world’s seven continents. He set his feet atop Everest this spring 117 days after conquering Mt. Vinson, the tallest peak of Antarctica.

Adventure activities, especially trekking and mountaineering, directly support the rural economy as the adventurers spend much longer period there. Many mountain guides, porters, cooks and others get employment opportunities every mountaineering season. Spring is the main season for climbing.

The royalty raised from expeditions to Mt. Everest is a vital source of income for the government. A whooping sum of Rs. 361 million has gone to the state coffer this spring as royalty charged from those attempting Mt. Everest alone.

As Nepal is home to eight of 14 mountains above 8,000 meters and hundreds of other mountains and trekking peaks, the country is an important destination among mountaineers and other nature lovers from across the world.

June  12 , 2018

Image courtesy: Ang T. Sherpa

 

 

 

Pokhara ( RSS ) : The government in Province 4 unveiled annual policies and programmes for the fiscal year 2018-2019 by accepting tourism infrastructure as the major base of economy.

Releasing the policies and programmes of the province government, Governor Baburam Kunwar said a master plan for tourism development would be developed with a clear plan of action for its integrated development.

Likewise, Pokhara-Kathmandu-Lumbini would be developed as the Buddha Golden Triangle as part of the inter-province coordination and religious-cultural-historical-archeological sites’ protection; development of infrastructure would be ensured and policy of environmental conservation adopted while carrying out development works of the tourism infrastructure.

Similarly, the province government has planned to form a lake conservation development authority in coordination with the federal and local governments.

Tourism service information centre would also be established in order to disseminate information and services needed for the tourists.

According to the policies and programmes, branding of tourism heritages and sites would be conducted to establish a touristic image of the province in the international tourism market, and information technology would be used to its maximum capacity to augment the tourism business.

Meanwhile , Chief Minister of Province No. 4 Prithvi Subba Gurung has said that tourism, energy, agriculture and industry sectors were the major basis for prosperity of the province in a program held here .

Saying that the province policy and programs has planned to run around 300 homestays in Mustang, Manang and around Pokhara to promote tourism, Gurung claimed that 50,000 employment and 100,000 self-employment opportunities would be generated in a year based on priority in the province.

June  , 2018

Image : Fewa lake in Pokhara / Nepal Tour News

Nepal Tour News —

Kathmandu : Visit Nepal Year 2020 logo has been  unveiled today . VNY 2020 aims to welcome 2 million tourists in 2020.

The 1st meeting of the VNY 2020 main organizing committee chaired by Minister for Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation Rabindra Adhikari unveiled the final logo today.

A major exercise for the creation of the logo for the Government of Nepal’s Campaign “Visit Nepal Year 2020’ was carried out by the Nepal Tourism Board.

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 VNY 2020 Campaign, according to NTB.

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

June 8 , 2018