China, Nepal sign MoU to boost tourism
The Third Joint Coordination Committee meeting for the promotion of tourism between Nepal and the autonomous Region of People’s republic of China today signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for joint promotion of tourism.
At the conclusion of the meeting, both the sides signed the Agreed Minutes stipulating the areas for cooperation as operation of Kathmandu-Lhasa-Kathmandu flight by designated Nepali airlines, Operation of Canton- Lhasa-Kathmandu flight by Chinese airlines, promotion of joint rafting industry by the private sector of both sides, developing an action plan to establish a trekking trail from Komanthang to Mansarowar. Under the MoU, Nepal Association of Travel and Tour Agents (NATTA) and TTA of China/Tibet will hold meetings and share issues related to the promotion of tourism.
Meanwhile, informing about another MoU signed between NTB and the Tibet administration as per the promotional agency, NTB chief executive officer Prachanda Man Singh said there has been an agreement between the two sdes to simplify the procedures of entry and exit regarding vehicles and tourists in both regions. According to the agreement, three important decisions have been made — regular data update for third country tourists’ entry and exit, regular tourist vehicle operation through tour operators besides the regular transportation and making tourist movement between Nepal and Tibet easier with bilateral tourism promotion.
Tibet Tourism Administration (TTA) deputy director Wang Songping expressed pleasure at the bilateral trade agreement and wished for the success of Nepal Tourism Year 2011.
Nepal and China are endeavouring to improve tourist flow in order to facilitate more tourists in each others’ regions.
Songping also informed about the initiation of Kathmandu-Lhasa road way by February 2010. NATTA first vice-president Arjun Prasad Sharma hailed the agreement between the two countries. According to Sharma, Kathmandu is the gateway to Tibet and the agreement will greatly facilitate matters.
“The road transportation will definitely benefit both destinations while increasing the number of tourists arriving from China and other countries,” said Sharma.
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Seems like travellers don't seem to get enough of Nepal. After making it to Lonely Planet's 'Best in Travel 2010' list, Nepal has once again been featured in National Geographic's 'Best New Trips for 2010'. Among the 25 trips listed , includes wolf-tracking in Slovakia, rafting in Bhutan's forbidden river , a trip to volcanic island of Montserrat and hiking in Namche, the Sherpa capital in the Everest region.
Three new rural tourism destinations identified
For the promotion of the tourism sector in Nepal, new tourism destinations are being identified. According to Nepal Tourism Board (NTB), there are more than 10 destinations that are suitable for rural tourism. The new destinations that have been identified are Chum Valley (Gorkha) and Panch Pokhari and Bhairav Kunda — both in Sindhupalchowk. Among them, Chum Valley in Gorkha is about 75 kilometres west of Kathmandu. Panch Pokhari and Bhairav Kunda both are about 40 kilometres northeast of the valley. According to tourism entrepreneurs, Nepal is a diverse country and the diversification can be used as its strength to promote it as a diverse tourist destination. With the tourist season on, more tourists are coming to Nepal which can be quite helpful in promoting Nepal Tourism Year 2011. According to people related to rural tourism, though Nepal has greater possibility to enhance village tourism there is still need for special concern about this sector. Village tourism can be a good way to increase the stay duration of foreign tourists.
HAN’s Community Room concept
To meet the demand of tourist's and the target of Nepal Tourism Year 2011, Hotel Association of Nepal (HAN) is coming up with a Community Room Concept. As the number of tourist reservations is scaling new heights and the demand for rooms in hotels are increasing, HAN has floated the concept to meet the demand.
HAN executive director Madhav Om Shrestha said that as hotel room bookings and reservations are peaking, they are trying to introduce the concept of Community Room. Under the Community Room Concept tourists who fail to get reservations or bookings in hotels can stay in spare rooms nearby any hotel area at economy rates. According to Shrestha, tourists can stay in the community rooms till they get accommodation in hotels. “Under this concept, there will be negotiation between the hotel and the community room holder and the price that an individual should pay to the house owner will be decided as per the facility provided by the house owner and the standard of the community room,” Shrestha said. He also said that the minimum charge per room in five-star hotels here varies from $150-200 per day during the tourist season.
Talking about the process for the establishment of the new concept, Shrestha said that HAN is working with a view to legal implications and trying to coordinate with the government about the community room concept. This October, there was a rise of 10.8 per cent in tourist arrivals compared to the same period last year. According to Tribhuvan International Airport (TIA) immigration office statistics, visitor arrivals this October increased by 10.8 per cent to 56,009.
“Though there are agitation programmes going on, the government and the people are aware of the economic support that the tourism sector grants to the country’s economy. Therefore, there is no such disturbance for the tourist here as was the case in the earlier days. As a result, the number of tourists coming here is increasing,” said Shrestha.
With the tourist season on, most hotels here are flush 90 per cent reservations and bookings which is a growth of 10-15 per cent compared to the same period last year. Soaltee Crown Plaza, Radisson, Hyatt, Everest Hotel, Yak and Yeti, Shangri-La, Hotel De la Annapurna and Hotel Malla are the five-star hotels in Kathmandu.
The majority of these hotels are designed according to traditional Nepalese architecture, adding to a satisfying and well-rounded Nepalese experience.