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Nepal to shift focus at China for tourism

Xinhua | Updated: 2013-04-03 14:45

KATHMANDU - With the Chinese tourist arrivals constantly on the rise, Nepalese authorities and tourism entrepreneurs intend to lay emphasis on China, seeking boost in the tourism industry.

"Since China is our second largest market for tourism industry, we believe the time has come to shift our focus towards the northern neighbor henceforth," Sushil Ghimire, secretary of Ministry of Tourism and Civil Aviation told Xinhua on Tuesday.

The figures released by Immigration Office, Tribhuvan International Airport reveal that arrivals from China has registered a significant growth of 35.7 percent in March this year despite the decline of overall tourist arrivals by 2.1 percent compared to the same month of 2012. Some 5782 visitors from China made their trip to Nepal in March this year.

As Chinese tourist arrivals via air reached 17,341 in the first three months of 2013, China has consequently managed to secure second position in the top lists of countries.

Ghimire urged the tourism entrepreneurs to develop new packages in competitive rates to attract more tourists from China.

Meanwhile, the promotional activities from Nepalese private sector and their participation in different trade fairs in China have resulted in the growth in tourist arrivals, said Bikram Pandey, vice president of Nepal Association of Tour Operators.

He added that the tourism entrepreneurs are providing Chinese language training for the tourist guides associated with them to facilitate the Chinese tourists in Nepal.

Pandey, who have developed a tour package of visiting four steps of Buddha's life, shared his further plan to develop a new tourism product connecting circuits of Buddhist sites both in Nepal and China. "Buddhist tourism and adventure tourism can attract more tourists from China," said Pandey. "Realizing this we have been organizing marathon at the highest altitude on May 29 every year to mark the day of first summit at Mt. Everest and this year there will be more than 10 participants from China in the upcoming marathon to mark diamond jubilee celebration of first summit."

Furthermore, tourism entrepreneurs have asked the government to set one door system of issuing permission for the matters related with a trekking purpose to increase visitors' arrival.

Trekking agencies are compelled to contact door to door of the related ministries for varieties of approvals before taking a tourist to his/her desired destinations, informed Mahendra Singh Thapa, president of Trekking Agents Association of Nepal. " If a tourist desires to film the moments of trekking, he/she must have to get prior approval from the Ministry of Information and Communication and by the same way prior permission from Ministry of Forests and Soil Conservation is mandatory to visit biodiversity protected areas." said Thapa.

He urged the government to set up one door mechanism to issue all of these permissions that could enhance overall tourist arrivals including those from China.

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