Flying to China easier from 2007

Kathmandu, November 29:

Air China’s general manager Qiao Shuwen promised on Tuesday to address what Nepal Tourism Board’s chief executive officer Tek Bahadur Dangi described as a ‘long standing pro-blem of accessibility to China’.

Come 2007, the Chinese airlines will ply daily flights between Kathmandu and Lhasa and Chengdu during the high season, four flights a week during the normal season and one flight a week in the low season.

Besides these, by taking the connecting flights of Air China, passengers can fly to Beijing, Shanghai, Shenyang, Guang-zhou, Shenzhen and some other international cities like Tokyo, Seoul and Ulan Bator.

The secretary for aviation, culture and tourism, Madhav Prasad Ghimire hailed Air China’s move to launch additional flights to make travelling to and from China easier. He claimed China was not just the fastest growing country but the largest market for outbound tourism.

During 2005, about 21,000 Chinese tourists had come to Nepal while till October 2006, about 5,000 Chinese tourists had arrived by air.

“With the peace process in place, this is just the right time to enrich our ties with the People’s Republic of China which is our closest neighbour. Together, we’ll work to ease out air as well as land accessibility to Lhasa and other cities” pointed out the secretary to a mixed gathering of people from the Chinese embassy, travel and tour operators and the media from the two countries.

The Chinese ambassador Sun Heping conceded that the Chinese tourists were keen to travel to Nepal following the peace agreement. Hence, Air China’s move to step up flights comes at an opportune time. Taking forward the ambitious tone set by Gimire, Dangi maintained that by 2007, Nepal wou-ld cross half a million mark for tourist arrivals. “Our challenge is to bring Chinese tourists with our attractive packaging and easy accessibility who till now, have preferred to go to Thailand, Singapore or Malaysia instead of Nepal,” he averred.