Nepal eyes spurt in Tourist arrivals in 2008

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Bangalore, Jan 12: With the growing peace and political stability witnessed in the changed context Nepal, the enchanting tourism destination on the laps of Himalayas, will see substantial growth in tourist arrivals this year, a top official said.

A drop in tourist arrivals during the last two years is a thing of the past and the Nepal Tourism Board is expecting a 27 per cent jump in tourist arrivals this year, with Indians comprising 35 per cent of the total tourist arrivals.

Speaking to the sources at the 59th Travel and Tourism Fair (TTF) here, CEO of Nepal Tourism Board (NTB) Prachanda Man Shreshtra said the media reports in the West had blown out of proportions some events that happened in his country during the last two years.

"Tourists were never harmed by any group in Nepal and all of them want the tourism industry grow. We are happy that India is fully supportive and the best partner of Nepal," he said.

He said Nepal was a vibrant and happening destination with 500 events and festivals taking place every year. The Himalayan country is a place for mediation and salvation and attracting a huge number of Indians to places like Pashupatinath temple in Kathmandu, Muktinath temple in Jamsom, Ram and Janaki temple in Janakpur and pilgrimage tour to Kailash Manasarovar, he said.

Mr Shreshta said NTB had decided to offer packages segment wise to cater to different types of tourists from this summer. "We are now offering 'Soft Adventure' package for youth where they can enjoy paragliding, trekking, mountain climbing, white water rafting and canoeing.

"For family and friends we are offering 'Fantastic Weekends' and for senior citizens we offer 'Life time experience' package to take them to religious as well as exotic locations," he said.

The NTB chief said the tourist flow from South India was constantly increasing but the problem is air and land connectivity.

The highest number of tourists visiting Manasarovar last year were from Karnataka. "We are in talk with private airliners like Kingfisher to introduce flights from south India. Nepal Airlines would be resuming its flights from Mumbai from April," he added.

UNI

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