For the first time since the World Health Organisation declared the coronavirus a pandemic, Nepal is going to promote the country's tourism by directly participating in the international market.

According to the Nepal Tourism Board, Nepal has decided to participate in the South Asia Travel and Tourism Exchange (SATTE) to be held in India. The event, to be held in Greater Noida from March 24 to 26, will be attended by 25 Nepali companies, including the national flag carrier, Nepal Airlines Corporation, and led by the board.

In line with the strategy of first approaching markets of neighbouring countries for tourism promotion, the board is going to participate in the exchange, informed Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of NTB, Dhananjay Regmi.

"Tourism activities have gradually started increasing in India in recent days," he said, "Nepal's participation in the programme is expected to be important as India has not yet opened entry permits for many countries."

Depending on the effectiveness of the exchange programme, the board plans to participate in tourism promotion programmes in other tourism markets of India. As per the air bubble agreement with the southern neighbour, two daily flights from both Nepal and India are operating at present.

According to Regmi, the board has identified the need for separate strategies for border areas, hill stations and other tourist destinations to attract Indian tourists to Nepal. The exchange, sponsored by the Ministry of Tourism/Government of India, is considered to be one of the most important tourism exchange fairs in South Asia.

While the NTB and other tourism stakeholders were taking part in such international events via digital platform after the outbreak of the deadly virus, this event is expected to mark somewhat return to normalcy as the participants will be physically present during the exchange.

A version of this article appears in the print on March 22, 2021, of The Himalayan Times.