Tourism booms, but will it last?

Maoists threat to launch protest programmes may hit next season

Kathmandu, October 28:

Nepal witnessed a 35 per cent growth in the arrival of tourists in the last seven months this

year with star hotels receiving overwhelming bookings for autumn season.

“We have had an extremely good season this year and we are still expecting more bookings for the next season starting February,” Prajjwal Shankar Shrestha, general manager of the four-star Shankar Hotel, said.

According to Nepal Tourism Board (NTB) statistics, the country saw a 30 per cent increase in the arrival of tourists in September, compared to last year. “This speaks volumes about rise in confidence among potent tou-rists to opt Nepal as their favo-urite destination,” Diwakar Rana, manager at the Tourism Marketing and Promotion, NTB, said.

The visitors’ arrival data released by Immigration Office, Tribhuvan International Airport (TIA), for the month of September shows the healthy growth of tourist arrivals by 27 per cent, up by 6,847 compared to the corresponding month last year.

The total arrivals in the last nine months have gone up by 32.3 per cent with 2,52,407 visitors by air in comparison to the same period last year.

Meanwhile, Silk Air, the sister wing of Singapore Airlines, is also starting its operation to Nepal from October 30. Cosmic Air has already resumed its operation from October 16 on Kathmandu-Delhi route.

However, the hoteliers and travel agents say that there is no point in getting excited as

the impact has not been felt by all the stakeholders. They are worried over the possible launch of the series of protest programmes by the Maoists.

“Although there has been a bo-om this season, Maoists threat may prove to be a major sect-back for the industry,” Prakash Shrestha, president of Hotel Association of Nepal said adding that growth has to be felt by all the stakeholders and not only by five and four star hotels. He said that the environment is ‘not entirely favourable’ as bandhs and strikes continue to take place and that the present political uncertainty might send negative signals before the peak season.

Prabin Pandey, director of Shangrila Hotel, said that tragic incidents highlighted by international media, too, influence the flow of tourists.

“The series of bomb blasts on September 2 led to a cancellation of Indian tourist packages in our hotel. But there was no cancellation from France, where this incident was not highlighted at all.”

New CEO at NTB

KATHMANDU: Prachanda Man Shrestha, joint-secretary of the ministry of commerce, industry and supplies, has been appointed

as the new CEO of NTB, a ministry source said. He will replace Subash Niraula who was working as the officiating CEO for some time — HNS

New team at AOAN

KATHMANDU: The ninth annual general meeting of the Airlines Operators’ Association of Nepal (AOAN) has formed a new working committee with Bijaya Shrestha of Yeti Airlines as its president. The meeting has unanimously selected Rameshwor Thapa of Simrik Air and Ang Dendi Sherpa of Air Dynasty as the first and second vice-presidents and Suman Pandey of Fishtail Air as its general secretary, states a AOAN press release. — HNS