By Diana Sahu:
Home to eight of the highest mountains in the world, the Himalayan nation Nepal has been a paradise for adventure seekers offering them ultimate challenges. As the country emerges from a decade-long civil war between security forces and Maoists, tourism officials believe it is now time to showcase the country’s other cultural riches to the world.
As a part of this, the Nepal Tourism Board (NTB) last week embarked on a road show at Bhubaneswar with the aim of increasing awareness and educating the Indian travellers on Nepal’s tourism products and offerings.
After successful tourism promotional campaign of Nepal Tourism Year 2011 and Visit Lumbini Year 2012, 2013 will be marking the Diamond Jubilee celebrations of Mt Everest. As a part of this, special programmes will take place from May 26 to 29. On the occasion, there will be the gathering of renowned Everest summiteers, opening up new peaks for summit, felicitation to all 8000 meter peak summiteers, Everest Marathon in Solukhumbu, award ceremonies, familiarisation trips of high level national and international dignitaries to Everest Region, symposiums on climate change in Everest Region, cleaning campaigns in the Everest Region, etc.
Nepal has always been popular with Indians as a recreational, shopping and pilgrimage destination. Earlier known as the only Hindu Kingdom of the world, Nepal is thronged by thousands of Shiva devotees especially during Mahashivaratri to pay homage to Pashupatinath.
And, for others, Nepal appears to be a Shangrila – the Lost Horizon that has been far from reality clustered with deities and demons awaiting for offerings.
‘’However, Nepal, is a country with a diverse array of tourism products – a rare combination of mystic, mystery, mountain and merriment. Pilgrimage, leisure, Meetings-Incentive-Conferences-Exhibition/Events (MICE) and soft adventure activities are the primary segments Nepal is focusing on in Indian market currently,’’ said Nandini Lahe-Thapa, Senior Director, Tourism Marketing & Promotion, NTB.
NTB said it plans to promote destinations including Kathmandu, Pokhara, Chitwan, Lumbini, Manakamana and Muktinath; hill stations including Nagarkot, Dhulikhel, Daman, Bandipur, Tansen currently for Indian market.
By Diana Sahu:
Soft adventure activities such as white-water rafting, biking, fishing, rock climbing, paragliding, ultra light aircraft and bungee jumping will be endorsed.
For the adventure seekers, the Great Himalayan Trail across east/west mountainous belts of Nepal has also been introduced.
Nandini Lahe-Thapa added that India is the most significant market for the Nepalese tourism industry with approximately 1/3rd total market share. ‘’The Indian market is important for both in terms of value and volume. In 2012, Nepal received 164,680 tourists from India by air which is 13.3 pc increase as compared to 2011,’’ she said.
No visa requirement, good air connectivity with almost 76 flights per week to India, easy access by road, year round pleasant weather, favourable exchange rate for Indian currency are some of the major factors that contribute to Nepal’s popularity as a favourite holiday destination amongst Indians.
For those keen to visit Nepal, check out : welcomenepal.com (ENS)
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