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Monday, January 19, 2009

TIA Expansion Plan of MoCTCA

From the last few years Tribhuvan International Airport expansion (TIA) has been in issue highlighting the number of arrivals and flow of airlines in the country. Every year the issue of its expansion voices out with the starting of the tourism season and fades after the time. Currently, the country has 18 international airlines with 9 of it directly linking Kathmandu with different destination and almost a dozen air carriers operating in the domestic sector.
Nevertheless, due to improper planning and growing numbers of airlines, the TIA currently is facing a huge congestion problem. As per sources, due to busy runways, the rate of air holding of the aircrafts at TIA has significantly increased. From above it can be said that there is no alternative for Nepal than to go for another international airport to meet the current demand of the aviation sector in the country. But in the condition, when Nepal cannot immediately cater the need of aviation growth by constructing a new international airport, there becomes no choice than to expand and improve the capacity of TIA to manage with the current needs. During the interaction held at Nepal Tourism Board, organized by Nepal National Aviation Council (NNAC), an elaborative presentation was made by Hari Bhakta Shrestha, Joint Secretary at Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation about the expansion of TIA model and planning where he hinted towards a need of TIA expansion from 2008 and the construction of the new international airport at Nijgadh from 2010, if we are to enjoy benefit in 2010 for TIA and 2025 for Nijgadh respectively.
The plans of the Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation (MoCTCA) includes, acclimatizing the need of the industry, the (MoCTCA) under the supervision of the Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal (CIAA) forwarded a master plan strategy which is currently adapting its track.
According to the master plan, the Aviation sector strategy needs to explore its depth highlighting its position and brand Nepal as a regional model of aviation excellence within 10 years. Moreover, after strengthening the sector strategy the Phase-I would be introduced with in 2009-2013 with an approximate investment of US$ 53.8 million.
The government from its side has already shown its commitment through the Government Policy Commitment 2063 where it plans to commence the New International Airport (NIA) with modern facilities under a master plan.
Focusing the master plan the acquisition and management of land required, environment impact assessment, migration plan, road link up and infrastructures and various modalities of investment to attract native and foreign private investors are in its way highlighting the scope and role of Nijgadh.

Presently the TIA capacity holds
International terminal Building (ITB) Area 24,242 sq.m
Int'l Aircraft Bay 9
Peak Hour passenger Processing Capacity 750 pax/hr
Domestic floor area 3894 sq.m
Peak hour Passenger Processing Capacity 384 pax/hr

Aviation sector strategy
- Modifying the institutional frame work
- Adjusting responsibilities for sector management
- Strengthening CAAN's financial, Management and regulatory capabilities
- Improving TIA's commercial performance
- Upgrading air safety and security system
- Improving managerial and technical skills
- Encouraging private sector participation in major projects
- Upgrading of CNS facilities
- Improving the national airport infrastructure

Phase-I: 2009-2013: Investment: 53.8M $
- Demolition of existing domestic terminal building (DTB)
- Expansion of Int'l aircraft parking apron toward DTB
- Construction of low cost DTB to serve till year 2017
- Development of aircraft maintenance base (Int'l & Dom) move Nepal Airlines Corporation (NAC) and military hanger to east side runway
- Expansion of domestic aircraft parking apron
- Construction of the parallel taxiway
- Upgrade CNS/ATM system
- Improve water supply and sewerage system
- Refurbishing of ITB facilities, airline lounges

Similarly, Phase II: 2014-2018: Investment:150M $
- Construction of new ITB
- Conversion of the existing ITB to new DTB
- Expansion of parking Apron (Int'l 7 Dom)
- Expansion of parallel taxiway to exist no.5
- Car parking and road infrastructure for the new ITB
- RADAR replacement and upgrading the CNS
- Terminal area commercial development
- Construction of commercial project

Currently the proposed Second International Airport (SIA) at the Nijgadh area
Area 32 sq.KM

Traffic forecast for 2015 2-3 million
For 2015 terminal area required 41,854 sq.m
For 2015 aircraft gate for Int'l 9 gates
First phase SIA 1.2 Billion $
Bagmati Corridor Road 100Milion $

Text compiled by Shreedeep Rayamajhi
Source: Hari Bhakta Shrestha
Joint Secretary, MoCTCA

A tribute to Sir Edmund Hillary

Human endurance and courage have always testified its permanence at times, defining capabilities of doers in creating their own name and fame. Significantly stressing the same, the tradition of legends have not only aspire thousands but on pragmatic ground for people who elucidate qualities to bring change have always defied the normal human limitation in doing something extraordinary. Like such, Sir Edmund Hillary is yet another name that shines in history of mankind as the arch of achievement and aspiration for all.

Whether you call him a legendary mountaineer or an expert navigator or a Philanthropist, no matter what you call him. Sir Edmund Hillary was a pillar of strength, who by his esteem dedication not only nailed nature’s highest point Mt. Everest but with his tall aspiration brought change in people’s lives through his organizations Hillary Foundation in different parts of the world.

Sir Hillary once said, “I don't know if I particularly want to be remembered for anything. I have enjoyed great satisfaction from my climb of Mt. Everest and my trips to the poles. But there's no doubt, either, that my most worthwhile things have been the building of schools and medical clinics. That has given me more satisfaction than a footprint on a mountain,” adding, “I was just an enthusiastic mountaineer of modest abilities who was willing to work quite hard and had the necessary imagination and determination. I was just an average bloke; it was the media that transformed me into a heroic figure. And try as I did, there was no way to destroy my heroic image. But as I learned through the years, as long as you didn’t believe all that rubbish about yourself, you wouldn’t come to much harm."

Although these words manifest the greatness of his legacy, but seeking more toward the brawny part of his personality, his simplicity and dedication made him the man known to the world.

Sir Edmund Hillary was born to Percival Augustus Hillary and Gertrude Hillary, on July 20, 1919 A.D in (1919-07-20)Auckland, New Zealand. From his childhood, he was a shy and adventure enthusiast. He did his primary education from Tuakau Primary School then Auckland Grammar School. He had a huge interest in reading. The turning point in his life came at the age of 16, during a school trip to Mount Ruapehu, when he gained confidence in mountaineering. He gained confidence with uncoordinated effort and his height of 6 ft 5 in (195cm) eased him. He found that he was physically strong and had greater endurance which gave him the determination to endure mountaineering as a passion. He further continued his studies with mathematics and science at Auckland University College and later scaled Mount Ollivier, New Zealand in the Southern Alps in 1939AD. He climbed the Southern Alps in both summer and winter, to practice both rock climbing and ice pick work, and also took up wrestling for techniques.

During the outbreak of World War II, Sir Hillary applied to join the air force, but his application was withdrawn before it was considered. Following the introduction of conscription on the outbreak of war in the Pacific, he joined the New Zealand Air Force in 1943 A.D as a navigator in Catalina flying boats. Similarly, in the year 1945 A.D in one of the operation in Solomon Islands, he was badly burned in a boating accident after which he was send back to New Zealand. By this time a dream had born to enclose nature’s wildest vanity to overcome it by defying physical boundaries.
"In some ways, I believe, I epitomize the average New Zealander: I have modest abilities, I combine these with a good deal of determination, and I rather like to succeed," said he.
Prior nailing Everest, in the year 1951 A.D, Sir Hillary was part of different expeditions. Like such, was a British exploration team led by Eric Shipton. Following the same in 1952 A.D Sir Hillary and George Lowe were again part of the British team led by Eric Shipton to Mt. Cho Oyu. After failing that attempt, Sir Hillary and Lowe crossed the Lho-La into Tibet and reached the old Camp II, on the northern side.
Likewise, Sir Hillary joined a British expedition led by British mountaineer Sir John Hunt in 1953 A.D. It was in hard May and after a grueling climb up from the southern face battling the effects of high altitude and bad weather, Sir Edmund and Tenzing Norgay Sherpa managed to reach the peak at 11:30 A.M local time on May 29, 1953 A.D.
"I continued hacking steps along the ridge and then up a few more to the right... to my great delight I realized we were on top of Mount Everest and that the whole world spread out below us," said Sir Hillary.

The news of the succession did not reach the outside world until June 2 and on the eve of the Queen Elizabeth II's coronation; Sir Hillary and Sir Hunt were knighted by the Queen for their achievement while Tenzing received the British Empire Medal. Immediately after the successful Everest expedition, Sir Hillary and Sir John Hunt published their account of the expedition, The Ascent of Everest.
Adopting the normal life standard, Sir Hillary married Louise Mary Rose on September 3, 1953A.D. They had three children: Peter (1954), Sarah (1955) and Belinda (1959). Climbing Everest was the apex of his career, but Sir Hillary had a lifetime ahead of him. He continued to go on expeditions and climbed ten other peaks in the Himalayas on further visits in 1956 A.D, 1961 A.D and 1965 A.D. He also reached the South Pole as part of the Commonwealth Trans-Antarctic Expedition, for which he led the New Zealand section, on January 4, 1958A.D. Shortly after, He was also awarded the Polar Medal for his part in the Commonwealth Trans-Antarctic Expedition.

As the years passed, he became more concerned with the welfare of the Nepalese people (Sherpa’s) and in the early 1960s; Sir Hillary began raising money to build a school for the children of Khumjung. He later established the Himalayan Trust, which, since its establishment has funded more than 30 schools in Nepal, as well as hospitals, medical clinics, gompas and airstrips.
"I have never felt sorry for the Sherpa’s, and I have never tried to impose projects on them. These are all things that the local people wanted, and we just responded. Every time we finish one project we get more requests," said he.
During the time, Sir Hillary’s cashed his fame in fundraising and into his ninth decade and he spends more than half the year travelling the world raising money for the trust.

Again in the year 1975 A.D, Sir Edmund Hillary's published his autobiography “Nothing Venture, Nothing Win” followed by “From the Ocean to the Sky” in the year 1979A.D.
In 1975 A.D while travelling to join Sir Hillary in the village of Phaphlu, Nepal where he was helping build a hospital, his children Louise and wife Belinda were killed in a plane crash near Kathmandu airport shortly after take-off. In 1977 A.D, he led a jet boat expedition, titled "Ocean to Sky", from the mouth of the Ganges River to its source.
Similarly, in 1985A.D, he was appointed as New Zealand High Commissioner to India (concurrently High Commissioner to Bangladesh and Ambassador to Nepal) and spent four and a half years based in New Delhi.
In 1985A.D, he was accompanied by Neil Armstrong in a small twin-engine ski plane over the Arctic Ocean and landed at the North Pole. He thus became the first man to stand at both poles and on the summit of Everest. Sir Hillary was again married in June to Mulgrew, the widow of his close friend Peter Mulgrew, on December 21, 1989A.D.
In 1992 A.D, Sir Hillary appeared on the updated New Zealand $5 note; he was the only New Zealander to appear on a banknote during his or her own lifetime. Later, he was also awarded the highest award for chivalry "The Knight of the Order of the Garter (KG)" on April 22, 1995 A.D and in the 1999 A.D, he published his second biography “View from the Summit”.

In 2003 A.D marking the 50th anniversary of the ascent, the Nepalese Government conferred Sir Hillary with the honorary citizenship. He was the first foreign national to receive such an honor from the Nepalese government. Similarly the same years Apart from that, a 2.3 metre (7.5 ft) bronze statue of him was installed outside The Hermitage hotel at Mt Cook village, New Zealand, in 2003 A.D.
On April 22, 2007A.D, while on a trip to Kathmandu he was reported to have suffered a fall and was hospitalized after returning to New Zealand. On January 11, 2008 A.D, Sir Edmund Hillary died of heart failure at the Auckland City Hospital at the age of 88 around 9 AM the local time.
Hillary's death was announced by New Zealand Prime Minister Helen Clark at around 11:20 AM. His death was recognized by lowering flags to half-mast at the New Zealand Parliament, Auckland Harbor Bridge and at Scott Base in Antarctica.
Helen Clark, Prime Minister of New Zealand said, "He was an heroic figure who not only 'knocked off Everest but lived a life of determination, humility and generosity"
A state funeral was planned for 22 January. It is known that Hillary wished to be cremated, and for his ashes to be spread over Waitemata Harbor in Auckland which was performed according to his will.

Text Compiled by Shreedeep Rayamajhi
Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Edmund_Hillary,

Dance restaurant a growing threat

Like every industry has its pros and cons. The tourism industry has not been able keep itself away from the negative aspect of sex industry highlighting its scope and role. In same view these days, Pokhara City is grasping the trend of dance restaurant in its hub areas. Though the different dance restaurants are materializing its identity in the name of entertainment and tourism but a relative lack of supervision and monitoring by the concern authority have resulted in its growth.

Bharat Paudel, police officer at the Community Police Service (CPS) Baidham said, "Many of dance restaurants are running freely in the name of tourism and entertainment but in reality, we cannot even see a tourist or traveler in such places. Although, we have already alerted them and have regulated them under a code of conduct but still at times, we have been getting complains and have acted against them. Looking at the problem, we have already formed a monitoring mechanism District Coordination Committee (DCC), which has been actively observing such acts. Just few days back, we visited some of the dance restaurants around the city area, where many people were found in an uneasy situation. We are further planning to work with the DCC to develop an effective rules and regulation to limit the dance restaurants to the code of conduct and strongly adopt it in their operation."

At times, the police and other related organization have raided them but despite the lack proper mechanism of management and monitoring, the dance restaurants are creating a menace for the society and people living within the abode.

Ganesh Bhatterai, a restaurant entrepreneur and past president of Pokhara Tourism Council (PTC) said, "The concept of easy sex is very common these days in urban cities. Mainly due to a decade long conflict, many people have displaced from their villages to cities. The lack of employment impedes them to take sex business as their profession.”

"It is not that I am against the dance restaurants or opposing against it but the dance restaurants should follow relative rules and regulation. As in democracy, people should have their rights to choose their way of living and earning their profession but it should not be against the law and go off the limit," added he.

To solve the problem he suggested, "The Government and INGO’s working in the field should primarily focus on providing empowerment training to the people taking sex as their prime profession and should develop programs where women of such field could survive and sustain."

Goma Dhakal, president of District Coordinating Committee woes, "The increasing dance restaurants in Pokhara are creating a negative impact in the society. We have initiated a campaign to fight against such menace. Today dance restaurants are adapting as a prostitution center so to control them and to limit them,we have come up with a concerted efforts of a code of conduct. If the dance restaurants do not follow the code of conduct then we would further initiate strict laws against them. "

However, the CSC, CPS and other related organization have created limitation and restriction in the name of code of conduct. Still the activities performed by dance restaurants are increasing in number creating a menace in the society. Perhaps, a need of a stronger monitoring mechanism is the time demand of the problem, voice all the sectors.

By Shreedeep Rayamajhi

Visit Pokhara Year 2007 Campaign

The visit Pokhara year 2007 (VPY-07) campaign has certainly brought the charm in the faces of the tourism entrepreneurs in Pokhara. These days Pokhara is heavily populated with tourists and travelers indulging themselves to the beauty and scenery of Pokhara. Perhaps, the cease-fire news has given the travelers to rethink their destination. Apart from that, this tourist hub is also adapting to the norms and themes of arrivals creating favorable and lucrative environment of the real Nepal. However, looking back to the last year and comparing it with this year, the tourism industry is quite busy in attending the arrivals. In-fact the current years campaign of VPY-07 has certainly played a role in creating favorable milieu for the hub.

Basudev Tripathi, Coordinator of the VPY-07 said, "This year the favorable situation of cease-fire and the initiation of the VPY-07 campaign has really paid off. Though we had limited time of two-three months for preparation but still the numbers of arrivals has increased which has certainly put smiles to the face of entrepreneurs. Currently, we are focusing more towards individual promotional activities with both the inbound and outbound tourists. We knowledge them with brief introduction of Pokhara and provided them with necessary pamphlets, maps, and posters so that they can promote Pokhara in their place."

Looking at the inflow, he suggested, "We lack coordinating effort in-between the government and association, which should be sorted out. Apart from that, the city-centered mentality needs to change. As more than 60% of our country is located in rural areas where the lack of infrastructures impedes us. Therefore, we need to reach the unreachable with proper resources and infrastructures rather than to limit everything in the cities."

He opined that, "For any campaign to be successful it needs strategic planning and enough preparation time. Though this year due to situation and time constrain our campaign was rushed and we had limited time for preparation but still the campaign is running well. Now, this should be noticed that we need enough preparation time, so in future, if we are declaring a campaign next year the work should start from this year. Apart from that, we should first be prepared. We need to provide them with enough air seats, feasibility of accommodations and fooding service, communication and infrastructures, effective and prompt rescue services etc. After equipped with such tool, then we can handle a tourist and he or she would be interested in spending more money."

Pokhara has received a remarkable number of both domestic and foreign tourists from its beginning in January, however the entrepreneurs have complained about the lack of proper infrastructure and the much awaited airport are the primary issues of VPY-07.

Sundar Shrestha, President of Pokhara Tourism Council (PTC) said, "The first foremost important thing for tourism industry is better promotion. We need to promote Nepal with more significant campaign and packages. Though presently we have finished our budget and have already received a new budget but still, we primarily are focusing toward promotion specifically targeting the boundary region."
"Pokhara is the prime destination for holiday and adventure so at first we should be able to provide them with necessary services and facility. The government should facilitate and promote Pokhara in ways where its tourism industry can be acquainted and benefited. Perhaps, the need of international airport has become a prime compulsion for the proper development of tourism in Pokhara. We definitely need an international airport which need to be address at higher priority," added he.

Laxmi Bahadur Bhattrai, Regional Hotel Association of Pokhara (RHAP) said, " The VPY-07 campaign is an opportunity where to some extent, we have been able to achieve the target. However, regarding its operation we need to improve a lot where problems like lack of preparation time, lack of effective promotion and lack of the infrastructure (Airport) needs to be recognized and adapted in future. The necessity of any campaign is promotion and the way we target the Nepali media (Kantipur TV) was less effective and was a limited approach. Perhaps instead of that if we had promoted our campaign in foreign or Indian channel then it would have been more effective."

He opined, "We need a travel desk in every embassy of Nepal, which would help to promote our destination. Apart from that, currently we are planning to publish an information book which would incorporate all the related information about the place, industry and agencies needed by a tourists."

Although, the VPY-07 is walking its way to its end, but with the rapid growth from the first week of October, this campaign is creating opportunities for people living in the place and the surrounding. Moreover, the problems like Maoist extortion and security issues are some of the realities where the industry, entrepreneurs and the arrivals are hindering the pace. Perhaps, the significant impact of such acts cannot be weighted to the loss of the country’s image.

By Shreedeep Rayamajhi

Books on Nepal-An effective marketing tool

One of the traditional yet effective means of destination promotion is through books, be it in the form of travel guides, novels, travelogues, accounts, maps etc. The trend of promoting tourism to a new level by defining the destination in terms of words, sharing experience or query in the form of books is still an emerging tool but seems less undermined with the increasing trend of electronic media worldwide. However for the country like Nepal which cannot compete with the developed countries in adapting the latest technologies for advertisements, books have played a major role in promoting it’s tourism. It has been adapting new and progressive forms of product imaging and promotion by acclimatizing and exploring new forms and methods to define its magnificence.

Nevertheless, the spectacular landscapes, aloof mountains, virgin rivers and streams and the ethnic culture and tradition have always been a prolific chapter of potent scope and reach of Nepal's tourism. In same view, the different foreign and native writers have acclimatized their creativity in creating and portraying the image of Nepal in a more lucrative and static way. (The books written by Mourice Herzog, The first summitteer of Mt. Annapurna in 1950) have immensely promoted Nepalese tourism.

Likewise, in same view Nepal has acclimatized the modern theme of marketing highlighting the importance of promotion and advertising in the international arena. Perhaps, it uses different means like books, travelogue, advertisement through the different means of visual media to attract tourists to its abode. Apart from that Every year it participates in number of travel fairs and convention to promote itself through its wide perspective.

Rhicha Maharjan, Office Manager at Pilgrims Book House Thamel said, "Currently the market of books are growing and in context of tourism, books certainly do have weight. People do trust and prefer to read books to know about the places, culture and tradition. It can really be helpful in giving you valuable information and the image of the particular place. Ultimately, books provide you with reliable and prominent information."

"I believe books are very valued by people so it should be written on practical grounds highlighting reality and doing intensive research where the possibility of error would be negligible" added she.

Some of the major bestseller which prominently focuses on Nepal are Escape from Kathmandu by Kim Stanley Robinson (2003), Love and Death in Kathmandu by Amy Willesee (2004), Tenzing Norgay and the Sherpas of Everest by Edmund Hillary (2004), Ascent of Rum Doodle by W. E. Bowman (2001), The Waiting Land by Dervla Murphy (1967), Goddess to Mortal by Scott Berry (2005), Mustang: A Lost Tibetan Kingdom by Michel Peissel (1992), Tiger for Breakfast: The Story of Boris of Kathmandu by Michel Peissel (1966) , Barbara's Nepal by Barbara Adams (2004), Mountain is Young by Han Suyin (1958) etc. These are some of the best seller by foreign writers who by their words and experienced have scened out Nepal in glorifying the tradition and culture for the world to see.

Apart from foreign writers, the native writers have developed their own nostalgic way but the emerging Nepali writers have contributed literary creation like Modern Nepal Rishikesh Shah( 1992), Medieval and Ancient Nepal by D.R. Regmi( 1966), Dolpo the Hidden Paradise by Karna Shakya (1991), Gods Goddesses and Religious Symbols by T.C Majupuria (2004)
These books are available in the market ranging from NRs 500 to 30,000 above creating new scope and role of book promotion in static way.

On contrary, from the normal books different travel guides are also available, which not only gives the travelers the distinct taste of culture and tradition but also focuses about the place and their situation. Some of the famous travel publications that are easily available in any of the travel book store are Lonely Planet, Apa Publication, Moon Publications Inc, Cicerone Press (UK), Rough Guides, Berlitz, Trailblazer Publications, Local Colour Limited (Hong Kong), Hodder & Stoughton, The Mountaineers Books etc.

Similarly, Howard Ralley, Sales & Marketing Director Asia-Pacific of Lonely Planet's said, "Guide books play a critical role with travelers in getting the most out of any trip, but it's true that the ways travelers are accessing information is rapidly changing. These are exciting times! Travelers tell us that they are looking for ways in which digital and online content compliments their guidebook. So whilst Internet research would take place before a trip being made, there would still be an overriding desire for a guidebook in the bag when travelling. Our digital future is about developing an online presence that is complementary to our guidebooks."
He opined, "The author is the single most important element in researching travel information. It’s their skill, experience, tell-it-as-it-is attitude that ensures travelers get honest, accurate and interesting information. Travelers need to know, above all else, that they can trust our travel content. It plays a separate role but they are obviously related. Our guidebooks do not set out to 'sell' any destination. Instead, our role is to inspire and enable independent travel."

However, with the increasing trend of travel books and articles, travelers these days are more focusing towards traveling research and study. They inquire about the particular place its feasibility and compatibility through different means like Internet, TV programs, radio programs, information centers and then center stage the whole scenario according to their feasibility.

Karna Shakya, a tourism entrepreneur and a book writer said, "Books are timeless and they are the collection of wisdom. Currently the trend of book research is very common among travelers which to some extent has hyped the scope and role of books in the respected field."

He opined, “These days people generally travel and they write their experiences which is getting very popular but one should always write reality and should not hide any facts, as one's information is another image.” adding, “Similarly, in tourism filed the tourist, trust writer’s concept and prepares a mindset before visiting that specific place. They come with a particular mindset of the image created by the book and when the image contrasts then they feel betrayed. Therefore, the writer should focus on precision reality, as by lying or hiding our weakness tourism cannot be sustained.”

He also said that tourism promotion doesn't limit to advertisement and that there were other means like books, documentary, travelogues, which do play a crucial role in attracting people to a certain place.

By Shreedeep Rayamajhi

World tourism Day -Tourism Opens Doors for Women

"World Tourism Day, " is celebrated on September 27, around the globe to commemorate the achievements as well as to instigate new avenues of global tourism on directives of United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO). The celebration also explores and highlights the strength and weaknesses of the industry as a whole in an effective and efficient way.

Moreover, the main purpose of World Tourism Day (WTD) is to promote awareness at the national and international level focusing on importance of tourism by highlighting its social, cultural, political and economic values in a profound way.

On contrary to that, this year, the WTD is themed as "Tourism Opens Doors for Women". This campaign celebrates women’s achievements in the tourism sector by promoting gender equality and women empowerment.
Today when the issue of women empowerment is emphasized so much in the international arena, the issue of role of women in Nepalese tourism industry seems questionable, creating and highlighting the scope of women's in the industry.

Bandinima Sherpa , Managing Director of Tenzing Asian Holidays expressed," Tourism is the only industry where women are working with equal opportunity. On contrary, if you compare women participation in any other field then it's very satisfying and high."

She added, “The current WTD theme is inappropriate because the door of tourism was never closed for women so there is no point in saying that. At first women should be provided with proper education, as when a woman is educated, then she would educate her family and the rest. Therefore, the first focus should be good education and then the rest.”

"The government should first give equal rights and equal opportunity of education only after that when the women are independent then they can think of their future", said Sherpa.
She suggested, the government should initiate a program to felicitate the women entrepreneurs in rural, which would motivate them and other to work in their field more effectively and efficiently.

In Nepal it is seen that women participation in tourism industry is high but is limited in certain areas or is culturally linked with limited reach to proper training and skills. First the quality education and training needs to be addressed focusing on the current trend of arrival's, life style of tourists and their needs. "If women were to give better opportunities in-terms of acquiring skillful training in tourism, Nepal's tourism would be revolutionized and would be thriving in the days to come", said the another lady in tourism, Shobha Rayamajhi, Managing Director of 1905.

"Tourism has to be structured with vision and should be targeted for long term sustainability where the role of women in tourism be categorically described," added she.

She further added, “Tourism is one of the fastest growing industries globally. Its periphery is vague in nature. Sadly, benefits of tourism could hardly be dispersed from the cities and handful of other destinations. As tourist, they do not come here to see Kathmandu. They come here to see the natural beauty, culture and tradition. We have to reach out and create such environment where tourism can grow in a sustainable manner. For the development of rural women more skill oriented training like hospitality, hygiene etiquette, spoken English should be provided so that they could give a quality service to the tourists.”

On the same, Hikmat Singh Ayer, Director of Tourism Product and Research Department said, "The WDT is a celebration which marks the tourism industry. In Nepal WTD is becoming more like one of our festivals where we perform our traditional rituals to welcome the tourists visiting Nepal. Similarly I believe that celebration of WTD will certainly help promote tourism of the countries through their cultural and tradition events."

Ayer further added, “In the context of Nepal, if you look at the women participation, the number is exciting to see but we need to focus more on strengthening them to from a quality work force. Therefore, effective measures should be taken to promote tourism as any other industry to develop it in a professional way.”

Briefing more about the happening, Ayer further said, Nepal Tourism Board (NTB) has already issued budget to the tourism-related associations. Different cultural and traditional programs are taking place in the country to mark this very day. Likewise, this year Nepal Tourism Board (NTB) is primarily focusing on 250th Kumari Jatra festival.

Highlighting the current prospect of socialization and marketing, Yankila Sherpa, Managing Director of Snow Leopard Trek said, "Tourism is a field where you need to compete with your competitor and at the same time you need to know the market which requires a lot of travelling and socializing. This can be seen as a major hindrance for women entrepreneurs."

“Perhaps, it is a field where you need to know your product and as well as to know the outside market. Tourism has many sectors where cultural, hotel and travel agencies are open for women but the adventure sector is still lacking behind because of the socio cultural region. Yet, few women are coming which looks promising", added Sherpa.

“You need to socialize, network and research with and about your client and in Nepal, the social obligation obstructs women from such timely activities. Moreover, it is more costly affair for women entrepreneur for such activities. So awareness should be raised at family level to uplift the women status,” stated she.

She also suggested the government should initiate some incentive program to promote women entrepreneurs at national level.

Ironically women have to be well equipped with education, skill and training as they have to compete against men who have direct access in market, socializing and so on, added Sherpa.

Like every year, Nepal is observing WTD with various programs and events. The associations like Thamel Tourism Development Council (TTDC), Kirtipur Tourism Development Committee (KTDC), Bhaktapur Tourism Development Committee (BTDC), Patan Tourism Development Committee (PTDC), Pokhara Tourism Council (PTC) are all set with arrays of programs to mark WTD in Nepal. Similarly all the associations will also have their own set of programs during the day. TTDC is organizing The Thamel Street Festival –2007 and will be enacting the Vehicle Regulated Zone in Thamel on the same day KTDC is all set for a cultural rally to create awareness of tourism in the area and would also be felicitating the arrivals by showcasing and promoting their ethnic culture and tradition. BTDC is also organizing a cultural and a Handicraft Exhibition in Bhaktapur where tourists would be felicitated and would give out free stay packages to the first few tourists.
Similarly, PTDC has a plan to hold a Photo exhibition of Mukunda Bahadur Shrestha to mark the WTD. Pokhara Tourism Council (PTC) has also declared to organize various activities in Pokhara to mark WTD while Nepal Cycling Club has announced a 25 Km cycle rally around the Kathmandu valley. All these events have been supported and promoted by NTB.

There should be no doubt on the potential of tourism to open doors for women unless a conducive environment is created for them. The policies are to be made accordingly. Nepalese tourism if compared to other neighboring and Asian countries is still lagging behind and are traditionally run. Out of many challenges, developing tourism in a more inclusive manner is a great challenge ahead of Nepal. The benefit of tourism could still not be dispersed in a rightful manner where only a handful of people have been benefited and out of them women directly benefited by tourism is very nominal. Despite the fact, the growing women participation in tourism is certainly encouraging, so a relative thought needs to be given to rethink and empower women in policy and decision making level where we are still lacking. Perhaps just by acclimatizing and celebrating, the theme of the WTD would not be enough, if we lose to empower women by forming a pro-women environment and policies.

By Shreedeep Rayamajhi

The IUCN 4th Asia Regional Conservation forum

The World Conservation Union (IUCN) organized "Synergies for a Sustainable Asia" the 4th Asia Regional Conservation Forum at Hyatt Regency Kathmandu from September 10-14, 2007. The conference majorly focused on generating dialogue on critical environmental conservation and development issues highlighting the impacts of emerging socio-economic trends on regional environment in the region.

The conference was participated by around 400 representatives from 30 Asian countries of IUCN's membership, commission, secretariat, and council in Asia where the participants discussed on innovative conservation approaches, shared regional experience and build partnership for future action.

Girija Prasad Koirala, the current Prime Minister of Nepal inaugurated the conference where Dev Prasad Gurung, Minister for Ministry of Forest and Soil Conservation chaired the event among distinguished guests from business world, tourism industry, expatriates community, foreign diplomats, participants, media person's etc.

Speaking at the inauguration, Girija Prasad Koirala, Prime Minister of Nepal said, " Nature and people have a close relation and they go hand in hand. In current scenario when we look at the context of globalization, nuclear weapons and deforestation issue, we humans have paid tragic consequences for our doing. Moreover, people harm the nature for their selfish motives where it waits for its turn and strikes in the form of flood, earth quake, land slide, drought etc endangering the whole existence of human race."

He opined, At first people should be educated, in-fact the awareness should be raised from early stage where children should be taught about the conservation topic which would help them to near themselves with nature and can be used as an effective approach.

"Nepal has beauty but we should not forget it has poverty which also needs to be addressed ", said Koirala.

The prime minister showed his solidarity to reinforce the partnership on conservation and sustainable development based on the democratic principles of cooperation, shared responsibility and mutual benefit to formulate appropriate strategies for a better Asia.

Likewise, Dev Prasad Gurung, Minister for Ministry of Forest and Soil Conservation said, "Our country is endowed with a rich biological as well as cultural and economical diversity. In-fact addressing the issues of biodiversity conservation and sustainable livelihood is a primary need of today. The new developments in view of the conference would provide exciting backdrop to address and to focus on some of the key issues related to the topic."

On Tuesday, September 11, the conference overviewed on the proposed IUCN global and Asia regional programmes for the 2009 –2012 where panel of expert highlighted the sessions. Moreover, two sessions emphasized on examining the sustainable development options, followed by a session on alternative development paradigms focusing on the integration of social and ecological perspective in development process. The session also highlighted case studies of China, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India and Thailand and further the day was ended with session of IUCN 's new initiative on private sector engagement in sustainable development.

On Wednesday, September 12, the third day highlighted on issue including biodiversity loss, climate change and energy crisis and poverty. The first session of the day showcased the conservation issues with suitable examples in the region. Similarly exemplifying, it also concentrated on the financial and economical means to help conservation and copy mechanism to address the climate change issue.

The second session primarily dealt with the conserving biodiversity issue highlighting the priority of the theme as the corner stone of IUCN's work on biodiversity. It also directed its goals towards examining broadly the challenges and opportunity of IUCN.

The human and ecological relationship was focused in the third session lighting the issue of increased vulnerability of poor to disasters. Similarly, the session also encompassed the issue of emerging climate change and energy crises by creating awareness about the growing energy demand and green house gas emissions in the region.

Likewise, the last session focused on promoting participation of marginal and vulnerable groups in conservation processes highlighting the linkage between human and sustainable ecosystem management. The session generated exchange of information, best practice and lessons learnt mechanism for participants.

On the final day, the closing session presented a summary of the technical sessions held during the forum where Dev Prasad Gurung, Minister for Ministry of Forest and Soil Conservation presented awards and letter of appreciation to the participants.

By Shreedeep Rayamajhi

Chinese Govt. prohibits Nepali expedition from North Col

Mount Everest is the ultimate destination for mountain climbers. Every year thousands of climbers visit Nepal and Tibet (China) in fulfilling their dreams of conquering the Everest. No matter what, people spend thousands of dollars and hard effort to satisfy their dreams, which adversely has been one of the important sources of revenue generation for both the countries.

Apart from the hardship of climbing, the different expedition teams of Nepal have paved their way in scaling the Everest from Tibet side creating a better opportunity for climbers and their security. Now, when the news of prohibition of Nepalese expedition and climbers from the North Col came out, a question has been raised among Nepalese expedition team to plea against the restriction, as it directly affects hundreds of people’s employment and earning.

Climbing Everest from Nepal’s side is considered more adventurous, panoramic but costly due to its rugged and steep terrain where as the North Col from Tibet side is famous for viability of reaching its base camp on wheels and less royalty charge.

Diwas Pokheral, General Secretary of Everest Summiteers Association (ESA) said, “Tourists of different economic status come to scale the Everest every year. Those climbers who are more adventurous and like to take challenges choose to climb Everest from the South Col trail while the others of low economic status choose the North Col. No matter what the ultimate goal of experiencing Everest can be done from both sides.”

He opined, “The current decision made by the Chinese government to restrict Nepalese climbers and expedition from scaling the north side is hard hitting as currently more than 80% of the expedition organized by Nepalese companies are planned through the North Col.”

The news has certainly worried the Nepalese Mountaineering and Expedition Companies as it directly displaces thousands of people employed under the companies. On the behalf, He asserted, “We are currently planning to coordinate with the Prime Minister's office to have a ministerial level talk to solve the crisis, as it directly involve the earning of thousand of people and contributes a huge portion to country’s economy.”

“Moreover, the Chinese government is trying to focus on utilizing its work force rather by prohibiting the Nepalese expedition and climbers from the North Col”, added Pokheral.

Currently the Chinese government is paving a 108-km (66-mile) dirt road from Tingri County to its Base Camp in order to accommodate growing numbers of climbers on their side of the mountain. It will become the highest asphalt-paved road in the world. Construction began on June 18, 2007, at a cost of 150 million yuan (US$19.7 million). China also plans on routing the 2008 Olympic Torch Relay over Everest, going up the South Col route and back down the North Col route, on the way to the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing.

Kami Sherpa, six times Everest summiteers said, “First we should reduce the royalty and should open other mountain for climbing. As the basic problem is differences in royalty paid, which is diverting people to North Col, if the Nepal government reduces royalty fee and provides effective services then climbers will certainly give priority to our trail.”

Likewise, the mountaineering industry should be prioritized focusing on qualitative and well trained professional, “The climbers visit the country for relaxation and enjoyment. They come here to see natural beauty and mountains rather than to face Bandhas and Strikes, apart from that the lack of proper solid waste management in the Everest region has certainly put a question on issue of charging high royalty and not retaining it”, stated Sherpa.

Ironically foreign tourists cleaning the Everest region time to time has come as an embarrassment for all the Nepalese despite charging such a high royalty and is an issue to talk and debate about.

Zimba Zamgbu Sherpa, Managing Director of Khumbi–Ila Mountaineering and Trekking (P) Ltd said, "Currently the Chinese guide are busy for the preparation for the Olympic 2008 and the Chinese government is trying to focus its work force in the industry, which cannot be questioned."
Moreover Nepalese climbers and guides are more experienced and professional so if the government creates favorable environment here then the prospect can be better. “Regarding the issue of prohibition, if the Chinese government does it then it will certainly affect the hundreds of guides and climbers in Nepal. The government should resolve this problem through a dialogue with the Tibet government”, added Zamgbu.

“Perhaps in current situation, the Chinese visitors have to pay a low VISA charge where as Nepalese has to pay a large VISA fee while entering Tibet, which needs to be sorted out”, added Sherpa.

Jyoti Adhakari, Managing Director of Eco Trek International said, "The new policy will certainly have an effect but as said demand creates its own supply. Like wise on the other hand, it will help to strengthen our own resource in self-sustaining the industry. "

"In tourism the people are more focused towards their selfish motives rather than for the development of the industry, first we should be able to update and develop new skill then the opportunity will come to us ", said Adhikari.

He suggested that perhaps there should be a common ground with no restriction of Prohibition where both the countries should openly use Everest as a focal point by sharing a common policy.

"Currently in the mountaineering industry we are just exploiting the labor rather than to utilizing them, we should channel our resource for self-sustainability by creating better opportunities for the industry and the people working in it. Mountaineering courses should be taught in the schools in order to develop quality human resources for mountaineering and trekking business in Nepal,” added Adhikari.

Though the new policy of restricting Nepalese expeditions from Tibet side is still not confirmed, it has certainly raised question regarding the future of Nepal's mountaineering industry where as on the other hand, it certainly gives hope for a strong and sustainable development of the Nepalese mountaineering industry.

By Shreedeep Rayamajhi

Publication: Nepal Traveller Publication
Magzine: Nepal Travel Trade Reporter
Date of issue:September 3-16 2007
Issue: 36
page no: 44 and 45 (Highlight)

Need of 2nd International Airport: A Question

Nepal has established itself as one of the top tourist’s destination and from past 10 years there has been a tremendous increase in number of arrivals by airways than any other means. In-fact the sudden fluctuation in number of arrivals by airways has increased so much that numerous international airline companies have established their services focusing the number of arrivals. On one hand it is attracting foreign investment whereas on other hand it is creating a crowd and congestion in the airport making it hard for the Tribhuvan International Airport (TIA) to manage the rush due to lack of infrastructure and facilities.

Similarly, the proposed plan of constructing a second international airport at Nijjghad in budget 2064/65 has certainly raised question in the civil aviation industry over its implementation and initiation.

According to senior official at Ministry of Culture Tourism and Civil Aviation (MCTCA), “Only Technical Preliminary Studies have been done, the concept had originated long back and few locations like Chitwan, Birgunj, Nepalgunj, Dang, Nijjgadh were tested for Pre feasibility, where Nijjgadh was technically found to be best.”

He also informed that there is a need of series of technical studies to be conducted with experts, which needs to be address with high priority. If we are planning to make a second international airport then the plans and policies should be devised according to future prospect considered the current flow. “Though the political leaders are manipulating the issue in their desired way, they should not proceed with hasty decision as it strongly focuses on the future of Nepal‘s Civil Aviation,” added the official.

Regarding the investment need for the airport, he stated that the government cannot sanction such huge amount in its budget. Either it has to adopt the Build On Operate and Transfer (BOOT) scheme with addressing good rules and polices or attracts foreign investment for which they have to devise systematic planning focusing on commercial viability.

He further suggested, a separate board should be devised which would work for the overall planning of the different technical studies. Then, MCTCA with all its technical team should work together under the hub. Till now looking at the progress, the work is going on in a procedural way but if government changes then program sustainability is questionable?

So high priority should be given to form a well-organized and systematic body, which would handle the over-all process, added the official.

Suman K. Shrestha, Director of Civil Engineering Department of Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal (CAAN) said, “The second international airport is the current need of Nepal’s civil aviation as the TIA is not able to address the need of current inflow of aircrafts and airlines. Presently, TIA is only practicing visual landing process, which is not applicable in bad weather and the possibility of accident rises in such condition. Likewise, the current flow of new and big aircraft has totally congested the TIA creating and highlighting the need and scope of a second international airport.”

Briefing more about the airport Shrestha stated, the airport would require around 400Bighas of land and should have two runways- landing and take off separately. It would be equipped with high and strong security measures and basic infrastructure to land any new aircrafts like Airbuses 380 and Boeing 747 and 777. Moreover the new airport would ease TIA from its congestion.

He also informed that and there are a series of technical test to be conducted. Most probably this year- site study, Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) test and land capturing process will start. The next important thing for government is to have teamwork in-between the different Ministry’s like: Land and Reform, Finance, Law and Justice and Culture Tourism and Civil Aviation in an effective way where the progress can be attain.

Perhaps it is a big project so foreign investment or foreign donors are the prerequisite; we cannot think anything without them. I believe the totally future of the project depends upon involvement of donor agencies and Nepal Government cannot solely proceed with that added Shrestha.

Maheswar Bhakta Shrestha, Civil Aviation and Airlines expert said, “Currently after 40 years of establishment, TIA is still in the process of completion and is not able to provide better services and facilities. From time to time tourists have complained regarding the different facilities provided in TIA. I don’t think there is a need of a second international airport as when we are struggling with one, how can we handle the other?"

“However, people protesting against construction of International Airport in Nijjgad have been another aspect of hindrance to over come,” highlighted Shrestha.

“Regarding the second international airport, first the commercial viability needs to be evaluated as in today’s context when we are not able to optimize the maximum use of TIA then there is no question of a new international airport. Apart from that Biratnagar Airport had started international flight to India but later it was closed. So first commercial viability should be the priority and then other,” added Shrestha.

He further said, “The BOOT is solely a commercial concept, which does not seem to address the commercial viability. A big investment goes in and today when TIA is still in the process of developing, then the question of second international airport seems like eccentric. It is just a regional and tourism oriented decision to target Lumbini, more than that its commerciality viability and sustainability is highly questionable.

Bikash Rana, President of Nepal Airlines Operators Association (NAOA) said, “The concept of Second International Airport in Nijjghad is appreciable as currently we have only one International Airport and in situation of landing inability and parking, most of the aircraft are landed in Dehil or other airports outside the country which is very costly. So the need of an alternative airport certainly creates the scope for development in Civil Aviation of Nepal.”

Perhaps from the country point of view, we need the new airport as it will bring new business and tourism will flourish in the region. If new destinations are developed then business will increase and sidewise would development that particular area, added Rana

On the contrary Rana stated, the construction of second international airport is the need looking at the congestion at TIA but if we look at it from commercial viability and investment then, in current scenario when we are not able to use the TIA at optimum level then the decision should really be thought off.

In today’s context when Nepal has outstretched to world trade organization, a lot of business avenues and opportunities are open for foreign investment, in such scenario the concept of Second International Airport certainly gives hope of development highlighting the importance of airways in Nepal.

Though all people have supported the concept of Second International Airport for development but its commercial viability is highly questionable referring the present context of TIA to address the needs of the country’s Civil Aviation state.

By Shreedeep Rayamajhi

Future Policy of Nepalese Tourism Education

Tourism is one of the main pillars of the economy. It has been the backbone of economy in evolving and highlighting its growth and expansion from a limitation to an outbreak of national income source. In such scenario the tourism industry is acclimatizing new and exclusive aces in creating an ambience of tourism education.
To be precise, tourism education is relatively a new academic discipline associated with various aspects of travel and tourism. It is a discipline, which encompasses the needs and importance of tourism and hospitality industry according to society and community to promote tourism in a prolific way.

As every year millions of rupees are drained out to different countries in name of tourism education specifically around 0.6 to 1 million per person to Singapore and 2.5 million or more per person to Switzerland. A huge concern is raised among experts in generalization of the study field in regards to quality produced and future prospect.

On the same, Dr. Ghanashyam Bhattarai, a Faculty member of Tribhuvan University (TU) Central Dept of Hist. Kirtipur and Baneshwor Campus said, “Tourism education is one of the most important needs of tourism. It aims to produce accomplished human resource that is needed and anticipated in the industry, Primarily the government needs to define a hub organization to policy level to regulate the different institution.”

Tourism is a service industry and having an immense scope, we have not been able to exploit it at its best. We are lacking to execute the standards of service in respect to the production of effective and efficient manpower in the respected jobs.

At first we should be able to prioritize the educational need at policy level under a hub organization where the course set would be uniform, transcending the current trends of haphazard curriculum under different universities.

“The policies should further address the need of the industry to capitalize the market rather than to limit the industry,” added Bhattarai.

However, the current situation of relying on foreign work force or educated abroad is a state of reality. If we have a hub organization and maintain the quality then we can produce potent professional to meet the current need here and then can even supply to neighboring countries like India, china etc.

According to the research paper of Bhattarai, government had set a target of generating 111,329 employment in the ninth plan where only 80,000 opportunities were generated. Likewise at the end of the tenth plan only 100,000 employment opportunities were generated which showcase its weakness in action.

Though, Tourism has been mentioned as an effective means of combating unemployment and alleviating poverty in its tenth plan (2059-2064). It is still lacking effective measure at professional level due to lack of effective policy, added Bhattarai.

He further said, lack of coordination and proper data system impeded us at different step but the expansion of tourism field and scope emphasize the need of a prominent initiation of a hub organization at policy level on tourism education without which formulating other policies are irrelevant.

Stressing on the future policies of tourism education Bhattarai said, “The government should devised good policies to incorporate the quality of service and a proper monitoring and evaluation mechanism to scope out the pro’s and con’s of the tourism education”

Currently there are more than half a dozen of colleges teaching in different fields of tourism education, which is commendable. They are giving opportunities to local people to attain the tourism and hospitality education at reasonable cost but there is a relative difference in course according to universities which seems as a hindrance to over come. Until then no matter how flexible and effective policies are formulated for the growth and expansion of the field, it will always be inadequate, concluded the Bhattarai.

According to Ujjwal Satyal, Head of department of Human resource Division of Nepal Academy of Tourism and hospitality Management (NATHM), “ the government should initiate such policies which should directly address the field in sustaining the quality and comparatively the market”

As globalization is adapting more people are attracted to this field, even looking back to the starting days, we had started with 32 students but today we have about 80 student which show the luring number and its prospect.

Regarding the formulation of government polices the tourism education is such a field which needs working condition of the hotel, labs, kitchen which to some extent for the private sector is a bit big and hard.

Apart from that different colleges are affiliated to different university like Tribhuvan University or Purbanchal University or foreign university, which are different scenario where one cannot judge them on same basis.

So, the strategy of the government should be to produce good product nevertheless who produces is not the question. If the government makes hard policies on that then the private sector will not be able to bear it, as it would create hard restriction and limitation, said Satyal.

Adding more, he said, “A policy has both sides- hardware and software. A hardware side is related to infrastructures like buildings, labs, land periphery and most importantly it has to be as good as a hotel where as the software side deals with qualitative faculty member, so both side has to be balanced to produce an effective and efficient work force. Thus the government should primarily address that in its policy. Another problem that hit us is we don’t have a high resource of faculty member. In this part of the world we study to learn where as, this field is more practical oriented so experience counts more than educational certificates which need to be understood."

Again he adds that today due to the effort of all the different institution we have trained skilled worker in every restaurant, bar or pub whereas previously when trained manpower were just confined in 5-star hotels. The situation has become more realistic where skilled people are initiating their resources to work in different small-scale investments adapting quality in the field.

“We have to initiate the work ourselves rather than just encompassing and grouping under a hub, it should be more product oriented where results and quality should be a matter not policy or hub organization,” added satyal.

Thus, the need of establishing qualitative tourism educational institution has tolled up creating importance of the tourism education but still looking at the global market, we need to approach this field study in more proactive and progressive form.
Although the government has been addressing the topic in its planed strategy and other framework but still an effective start lacks.
The current end of violence has synchronized the immense potent of tourism field clichéd to that an effective number of workforces lack which should be addressed at instance.
So the government should immediately initiate tourism education at priority redefining its quality and stance in the tourism policy of the country.

By Shreedeep Rayamajhi

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