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Visitor arrivals of May 2008 Tourist arrival via air in the month of May recorded a slight decline of 5% compared to the arrival figure of May 2007. However, the first five months of 2008 recorded an increment of 8% against the tourist arrival of same period last year.

The Indian market, contributing about one-third of total tourist arrival, showed a decline of 14%. Similarly, arrival from United Kingdom (-2%) and United States of America (-1%) also declined in May. However, arrival from Japan and Korea recorded an impressive increment of 54% and 43% respectively.

With te decline in arrival from India, arrival from the SAARC market declined by 10% despite the impressive increment from Bangladesh (28%), Pakistan (40%) and Sri Lanka (90%). Similarly, arrival from China (-37%), Singapore (-14%), Thailand (-46%) and Taiwan (-48%) also decreased in May. In the European market, France (10%), Spain (73%), Austria (12%) and Belgium (18%) recorded strong growth rate while arrivals from Germany (-2%), Denmark (-1%), Israel (14%), Italy a sharp decline of (-47%), Netherlands (-21%), Norway (24%), Switzerland (-20%), and Sweden (-7%) faltered.-TAAN National Tourism Fair-2065 begins in Kathmandu National Tourism Fair-2065, organsied with the objective of promoting domestic tourism in the country, began on June 6, 2008 at Direction Exhibition and Convention Center, Tripureshwor. The three-day fair was organsied by secretary at the Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation, Mr. Lilamani Poudel. The fair will continue till June 8, 2008. Delivering his inaugural speech, secretary Poudel believed that the fair would help to promote domestic tourism products and this kind of endeavor should be continued in the future. Guest of Honor Mr. Shafique Alam Mehdi, chairman of Bangladesh Prajatan Corporation, offered to join hands with Nepal for joint tourism promotion in international market. Chief Executive Officer of Nepal Tourism Board (NTB) Mr. Prachanda Man Shretha said that the idea behind the fair is to promote domestic tourism, create awareness for the improvement, in the life standard of people living in rural areas through tourism and to share the information and knowledge of Nepalese tourism. More than 50 stalls of different tourism destinations, tourism education institutions, and travel trade associations, different stalls of handicraft items, handicrafts manufacturers, tourism publications are put on display during the fair. Likewise, cultural performances of different ethnic groups, on the spot pottery making, a typical Nepalese model house etc are also put on display.-TAAN

Eco-trekking workshop in destination concludes

11th 'Eco-Trekking Workshop in Destination 2008 organised by Trekking Agencies' Association of Nepal (TAAN) concluded on June 5, 2008. The workshop is organised every year by TAAN to promote eco-friendly trekking.

The three-day workshop was participated by 70 participants from different trekking agencies of the country. Eco-trekking workshop, that used to be organised in July, was organised in June this year to coincide with International Environment Day.

Prominent scholars conducted classes on Eco-tourism and use of Revenue in Destination, Use of Local Resources, Responsible Tourism & Use of revenue in destination, leadership development in trekking, Cultural Heritage, High Altitude Sickness, Nature & Environment Conservation, Safety & Welfare of the Porters, Sustainable Tourism & Community Development, Photography a Prospective of Eco Tourism, Health & Hygiene, Flora & Fauna, Food Preparation in Eco Trekking. Similarly, Constellation Nepal made a presentaiton on use of satellite phone.

The workshop was inaugurated by Mr. Tek Chandra Pokharel, former president of TAAN, on June 3, 2005. Delivering his inaugural speech, Mr. Pokharel lauded TAAN's effort and said that eco-trekking workshop in destination would be effective for the participants. He also asked participants to practically use the knowledge that they got during the workshop. In the concluding ceremony, Mr. Sonam Sherpa, a participant of the workshop, asked the new political leadership to develop tourism as the mainstay of national economy. 'I have felt that political leaders talk much but fail to bring them in action. They should bring what they talk into action,' Sherpa added. He also asked the government to invest in infrastructure development to ensure better yields from tourism.

Minister for Women, Children and Social Welfare, Ms. Pampha Bhusal gave away certificates to all the participants. Speaking on the occasion, Minister Bhusal said that the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoists) has identified tourism as the major contributor to national economy.

Similarly, Jyoti Adhikari, president of TAAN, said that TAAN aims to conduct eco-trekking workshop in similar destinations in the coming years. 'I have felt that eco-trekking workshops in destination could be more effective than those organised within closed doors,' Adhikari added. Also speaking on the occasion were Bachchu Narayan Shrestha, 2nd vice president of TAAN, Mrs. Sita Dhakal, member secretary of Taragaon Development Cmmittee, and a representative of Kakani Village.-TAAN
First International Sagarmatha Day observed

Government of Nepal and number of travel trade associations in the country organised various programmes to mark the 1st International Sagarmatha (Everest) Day on May 29, 2008. Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation (MoCTCA) from this year declared May 29 as International Sagarmatha Day.

Tenzing Norgay Sherpa and Sir Edmund Hillary reached the summit of Mt. Everest for the first time on the very day 55 years ago. The celebration began from the early morning when Everest summiteers, government officials, representatives of travel trade associations, travel trade entrepreneurs, representatives of different mass media, students and general people participated in the morning procession organized to generate awareness about the importance of the International Sagarmatha Day. Lamas, Panche Baja and Dhime Baja troupe led the procession that started from Bhadrakali and passed through New Road, Jamal, Kantipath and Jyatha before concluding in Thamel. The major attraction of the procession was Mr. Apa Sherpa who has scaled Mt. Everest for record 18 times. Likewise, secretary at MoCTCA, Mr. Lila Mani Poudyal; CEO of Nepal Tourism Board, Mr. Prachanda Man Shrestha; president of Trekking Agencies Association of Nepal (TAAN), Mr. Jyoti Adhikari; president of Nepal Mountaineering Association, Mr. Ang Tshering Sherpa; president of Himalayan Rescue Association, Mr. Bikram Neupane; president of Everest Summiteers' Association, Mr. Wongchu Sherpa and others participated in the morning procession.

Concluding the procession, secretary Poudel said that the government decided to celebrate May 29 as International Sagarmatha Day recognizing the importance of the day for our tourism industry. 'This is the first year. We have plans to make May 29 an important event in international calendar,' Poudel added.

Later in the day, a formal programme was organized by MoCTCA and Nepal Tourism Board to mark 1st International Sagarmatha Day. Speaking on the programme, Mr. Apa Sherpa urged all to be serious on the environmental impacts of the climate change in our Himalayas. 'I thank the government on declaring May 29 as International Sagarmatha Day. Apart from celebrating the success of Mt. Everest, the day should also play crucial role in minimizing environmental impacts on our mountains. All stakeholders need to be made aware of environmental impacts on Everest and other mountains,' Apa added. He also lauded TAAN's initiatives in observing International Sagarmatha Day and supported TAAN's demand of establishing International Sagarmatha Award carrying good sum of money. Secretary at MoCTCA Mr. Lilamani Poudel said that the celebration of International Sagarmatha Day had become a matter of international significance. 'It has become the challenge for the world to conserve the Sagarmatha region and to safeguard the world's heritage site form the threats of climate change. Likewise, CEO of NTB Mr. Prachand Man Shrestha said International Sagarmatha Day should be a major event in Nepal's tourism. Tashi Tenzing Sherpa, the grandson of late Tenzing Norgay Sherpa, said that the government should be serious to honour the devotion and contribution of Sherpas for making Sagarmatha known to the world. Mr. Jyoti Adhikari, president of TAAN, express his happiness that TAAN's year long demand of declaring May 29 as International Sagarmatha Day has been met. 'I propose the government to establish International Sagarmatha Award carrying handsome amount as cash. The award should be developed like a Nobel Prize of mountaineering. It would help promote Nepal throughout the world,' he added. Likewise, Mr. Ang Tshering Sherpa, president of Nepal Mountaineering Association, said that day could be an important event in international calendar. 'Everest has given us a lot. Now, we have to be careful about the impacts of climate change in Everest and other mountains,' he added.

Mr. Madhav Karki, deputy director of International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD), made a special presentation on global warming, climate change and its impacts in Himalayas. On the occasion, secretary Poudel awarded Golden Jubilee Award to around 25 national and international Everest summiteers. Likewise, TAAN and NMA handed over their respective awards to the recipients. Also speaking on the occasion were Wongchu Sherpa, president of ESA, Bachchu Narayan Shrestha and general secretary of Pasang Lhambu Memorial Foundation.-TAAN

TAAN confers Everest Awards

Coinciding with 1st International Sagarmatha Day, Trekking Agencies' Association of Nepal (TAAN) has established four different awards. The awards were conferred to different individuals and organizations during the official celebration of 1st Internaitonal Sagarmatha Day on May 29, 2008.

TAAN awarded 18th time Everest summiteers, Mr. Apa Sherpa with TAAN Sagarmatha Award 2008. The award carries a purse of Nrs. 50,000 and a letter of appreciation. Similarly, TAAN awarded Dr. Harka Gurung Memorial Award 2008 to Mr. Triple Gurung. Gurung, president of Manang Youth Society. Gurung was awarded recognizing his contribution in promoting remote areas and community based programmes in Manang and Manasulu region. The award carries a purse of NRs. 30,000 and a letter of appreciation. After receiving the award, Gurung declared to hand over the cash prize to support the development Tsum Valley in Manasulu region. Likewise, TAAN awarded Nepal Academy of Tourism and Hotel Management (NATHM) with Pasang Lhamu Sherpa Memorial Award. To confer Pasang Lhamu Sherpa Memorial Award to Nepal Academy of Tourism and Hotel Management (NATHM) recognizing its women skill development programme. The award carries a purse of Nrs. 25,000 and appreciation letter. Similarly, Women Awareness Group, Lukla, was honored with Pemba Doma Sherpa Memorial Award recognizing its initiatives in generating awareness among women in the Everest Region. The award carries a purse of Nrs. 15,000 and appreciation letter.TAAN

Dipak Rai wins Tenzing-Hillary Everest Marathon 2008
Two times defending champion Dipak Rai won Tezing Hillary Everest Marathon 2008 orgnaised by Adventure Sports Tourism Society (ASTS) on the occasion of 1st International Sagarmatha Day. Rai completed the 42.195 km race from the Everest Bace Camp to Namche Bazaar with the timing of 3hrs 53mins and 14secs.

Rai edged out Purba Tamang (+5 mins) and Phuri Sherpa (+17 mins) to continue his winning streak in the marathon organized in the highest altitude in the world. Though not full fit, Rai surpassed his previous timing but couldn't beat his record of 3hrs 28mins 27 secs set in 2006.

However, the women event produced the closely contested race in the history of Tenzing-Hillary Everest Marathon. Ang Futi Sherpa, 25, of Thame won the women category in her very first attempt. She completed the race in 5 hrs 33 mins 10 secs, 1 seconds ahead of second placed Mingma Sherpa and 2 seconds ahead of third placed Mingma Futi Sherpa.

Japanese runner Hiroki Ishikawa, 33, won the foreigner's category with the timing of 5hrs 25 secs. Spaniard Juan Anotnio (+15 mins) and Kunchok Tenpa (+31 mins) finished runners ups in foreigner's category. Tenpa participated in the race after his successful ascent of Mt. Everest.

The top three finishers of the open category received US$ 1000, 500 and 300 respectively while the top three finishers in the other two categories became richer by US$ 500, 300, and 200 respectively.-TAAN