TOURISM Bouncing Back

Equipped with new Airbus, Nepal Airlines is supporting the efforts to bring Nepal’s tourism bouncing back

April 23, 2016, 5:45 p.m. Published in Magazine Issue: Vol.9 No 19, April 22,2016 (Baisakh 10,2073)

Following the earthquakes, many foreign airlines suspended or reduced their flights to Nepal citing low booking as a reason. With two new Airbuses in its fleet, Nepal Airlines not only increased its flights in the regional destinations but also brought tourists by offering special packages.

Flying in the region with narrow aircraft, Nepal Airline Corporation has made contributions that were vital to revive the Nepalese tourism back. This also taught Nepal a lesson about the importance of national flag carrier at times of national crisis.

If Nepal Airlines had a wide-body aircraft in its fleet to fly to Europe, Japan and China, Nepal’s recovery in the tourism sector would have been faster. Following the visit of British Prince Harry, Nepal is again regaining its popular image in the international tourism market and getting increased booking.

Tourism entrepreneurs have said that the government needs to take many drastic decisions to accelerate the revival process.

"The government has waivedthe visa and trekking fees for Chinese tourists, but only a few Chinese know about it. Nepal Tourism Board needs to launch a campaign in China to disseminate the information,” said Binayak Shah, general secretary of HAN

“One of the positive sides of Nepal Airlines regular flight is that it reduces the airfare of Kathmandu-New Delhi sector by half. This is a very positive thing to bring Indian tourists to Nepal. Along with strengthening the national flag carrier, Nepal Tourism Board needs to intensify its marketing campaign,” said Shah.

However, the air capacity of Nepal is still small and the price of airfare is high due to monopoly of foreign airlines in Nepal. “At a time when Nepal is celebrating the anniversary of the quake, all the authorities concerned need to take some steps to boost it. From the private sector, we have been doing our best but the government must take the lead,” said Shah.

In April 2015, Nepal was hit by a devastating 7.8 earthquake that killed over 9,000 people (including 19 on the slopes of Mt. Everest), destroyed buildings, infrastructure, and created landslides across the country.

Not only Nepalese, even foreign operators are selling Nepal in a big way. Darrell Wade, the CEO of Intrepid Travel, Nepal’s largest inbound tour operator, said about his company’s plans in the country, “After the earthquake hit and we recognized the scope of destruction, we made the decision to halt all tours until the fall. But now the company is back in a big way."

“We’re running our full slate of tours, and donating all our profits from the 2015-2016 season to charities to help rebuild Nepal,” Wade said of the Intrepid Foundation’s $1 million "Namaste Nepal” campaign. “Nepal may not be the biggest market for us, but we consider it a part of our DNA as an adventure travel company to stay involved,” said in an international travel journal.

“If tourism doesn’t return to Nepal, it’ll be like a second earthquake hitting the country,” Wade said, explaining how tourism supplies funds to a “whole supply chain” of Nepalese, from porters and their families to guest houses, food companies, shops and transport.

 

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