Kathmandu, August 10:

Nirbhik Rai Narang, country manager of Indian Airlines for Nepal, today underscored

the need for initiating aggressive marketing efforts to boost the existing image of the country and boost tourism for the survival of all tourism related businesses.

Narang, country manager for IA in Nepal in an exclusive talk with The Himalayan Times said that to attract more tourists here, the situation on the ground should improve and tourists should feel safe to visit this beautiful country.

Concerned bodies in Nepal have a better role to play to boost tourism from Nepal to other parts of the globe, said Narang stressing on effective tourism marketing.

Talking about tourism potentials between Nepal and India, Narang said, “There exists a tremendous tourism potential.” What is significant is that about 6.5 million Indian tourists went visiting last year. Given such a background, if we get at least 10 per cent Indian tourists, all business sectors can get a boost, he hoped. What is important is that tourism related auxiliary industries would also a have chance to do business if more tourists come here, Narang opined. In a bid to boost IA’s performance, it has recently launched new packages in various Indian cities such as low, multiple-level fares. Kathmandu to Delhi now costs Nepali rupees 3,520 one-way and Rs 4,100 on the Kathmandu-Kolkata route. IA has already launched a promotional fare in the business class between Kathmandu and Delhi at Rs 6,700 only.

Regarding the price war initiated by other airlines, Narang said, “IA has given competitive fares to passengers with better security and safety.” The performance of IA in recent months has been satisfactory, he commented. He said that IA has been a favoured carrier for passengers, thanks to its full-fledged catering, choice of meals and luxurious flying.

With the rise in the number of players focusing on the Kathmandu-Delhi sector while the size of the cake remains the same, a number of problems now need to be addressed. To some extent, fall in tourist arrivals to Nepal has also affected IA’s business as well, he said.

The class-based fares of IA are available only to those categories of passengers who are otherwise eligible for local currency fares as per existing rules and they are valid for individuals not for groups.

IA has increased free baggage on Kathmandu Delhi sector, on the business class to 40 kg while for the economy class it is now 30 kg. IA is also offering through fares to 20 destinations in India from Kathmandu via Delhi to places like Mumbai, Bangalore, Hyderabad, etc. It has also unveiled the highly-rewarding ‘frequent flyer’ programme with multiple benefits like free tickets and more free baggage allowance. IA has already got PATA Gold Award 2005 and been a winner of Consumer World Award 2004.