India & Pokhara to be airlinked

POKHARA: Minister for Tourism and Civil Aviation Saratsingh Bhandari said that the government was preparing ground work so as to begin air service from Pokhara to different cities of India.

Speaking at a programme organised by Pokhara Tourism Council here today, Minister Bhandari said that such direct air service was possible provided that the Indian government was ready to allow the flights in its internal air routes. “We’re working to get permission of the Indian government,” he said, adding, “For which, we’re hopeful to get green signal from the Indian side.” Tourism entrepreneurs of Pokhara have been demanding to establish direct air relation with Indian cities such as Patna, Banaras, Lucknow, among others. The entrepreneurs believe that such facility would boost the tourism industry. As of now, tourists visit this scenic town by road or from air service from Kathmandu. The entrepreneurs said the number of tourists would automatically surge once Pokhara is linked with direct air service from other countries, specially from Indian cities. There are more than 400 hotels in Pokhara. According to statistics, 186,643 tourists visited the town in 2008, of whom 41,623 were Indian citizens.

Ganesh Bahadur Bhattarai, a tourism entrepreneur, opined that the government should add national and international flights, bring especial plan for the writers and journalists to visit the city and increase the number of tourist police targeting the Nepal Visit Year 2001.

Minister Bhandari also informed that they were planning to develop Pokhara as a “special tourist destination”. The minister also informed that they were planning to establish Pokhara Tourism Corporation. “The corporation will have full authority for the development of Pokhara.”

On the occasion, he also informed that six different foreign companies were showing interests for the construction of a the regional airport in the town.

Chairman of Tourism Council Pokhara, Bachhuram Tiwari, said that not only the Pokhara denizens, people of adjoining districts too would be benefited if the things went ahead as planned.