Tourism and Civil Aviation News October 2015

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NAC Restarts Bangalore Flights
Nepal Airlines Corporation (NAC) has restarted flights to Bangalore after a nine year gap. NAC’s Bangalore route was shut down in 2006 and restarted on September 1, 2015 due to market demand, said NAC spokesperson Ram Hari Sharma. The corporation also started its Mumbai flight from September 4.According to NAC there will be two flights a week (Tuesday and Saturday) to Bangalore. Promotional fares have been set at Rs 10,092 with foreign passengers paying Rs 1,130 extra.

Nearly Four Percent Work in Tourism
More than 3.5 percent of jobs in Nepal are in the tourism industry, a survey conducted by the World Travel and Tourism-2014 shows. 

According to the survey, the industry provided employment to 487,500 people last year and the figure is expected to rise to 506,000, assuming that till 2015 the employment opportunities will increase to 4 percent.

Similarly in the next 10 years, the number of jobs in the industry will grow by 3 percent per year, and by 2025, around 681,000 Nepalis will be involved in the industry. 

Likewise, according to the Tourism Employment Survey-2014 prepared by the Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation, around 138,000 work in the tourism sector. The ministry says women are getting more opportunities in the tourism sector than men as women have captured 52 percent of jobs as a whole in tourism.

“In the past few years, with the growth of investment in the tourism sector, the employment opportunities are too increasing,” says media consultant of Nepal Tourism Board (NTB), Sharad Pradhan.

Autumn Season on, but No Sign of Tourists
The latest hotel booking data shows the hospitality industry is likely to take time to recover, after being badly affected by the April 25 earthquake. Hotels in Nepal would normally have an 80-85 percent occupancy rate during the autumn season, but this year the number is likely to drop to around 30 per cent, according to the Hotel Association of Nepal (HAN).

“Most tourists who booked rooms before the April earthquake, have cancelled their travel plans as the media reported that Nepal is still not safe due to the aftershocks,” says Prabesh Aryal, executive director of HAN.

General Secretary of HAN, Binayak Shah is hopeful that though tourist turnout this season has been low compared to previous years, the number will pick-up after Dashain and Tihar. The earthquake has affected the hotel business not only in Kathmandu but also in areas unaffected by the quake, such as Pokhara, Chitwan, Sauraha and Lumbini.

Chitwan Collects Most Revenue; Shivapuri Attracts More Tourists
Although second in terms of the number of visiting tourists, Chitwan National Park (CNP) is on top in terms of revenue collection among the country’s national parks and wildlife reserves, reveals new statistics from the Nepal Tourism Board (NTB). Jungle safari and rhinos are the main attractions for both domestic and international tourists visiting Chitwan.

In 2014, a total of 173,425 tourists visited CNP generating Rs 246.9 million in revenue, higher than any of the other parks and reserves. Shivapuri National Park (SNP) has drawn the highest number of tourists - a total of 180,464- while collecting Rs 10.3 million in revenue. The amount is 2.5 million more than last year. Shivapuri is visited by many domestic as well as international tourists as it is near Kathmandu, according to tourism entrepreneurs. 

Similarly, Sagarmatha National Park and Langtang have collectively earned Rs 136.5 million. Khaptad National Park is listed as a low revenue-collecting park, compared to other parks and reserves. While the country’s only hunting reserve, Dhorpatan, was visited by a low number of tourists. 

There are nine national parks, three wildlife reserves and one hunting reserve in Nepal.  

Himalaya Airlines, Pelesys Sign Agreement
Himalaya Airlines, a new Nepal-China joint venture airline, has signed a long-term service agreement with Pelesys, a Canada-based company providing training and learning management solutions to airlines. 

According to the agreement, Pelesys will provide its services using its ‘software as a service’ (SaaS) solution package, and its ‘training management and deployment system’ (TMDS) across the entire organisation. Pelesys Crew Pad, a tablet-based offline LMS platform, will provide the flight crew and other personnel of Himalaya Airlines with the ability to complete training online or offline.  

Also, Pelesys will provide A320 Aircraft-type rate training and a library of special operations courseware that will be employed within flight operations to address both initial and recurrent training requirements.

Vijay Shrestha, Vice President of Himalaya Airlines, said the agreement will add significant value to in-house training capabilities, and will help strengthen air safety standards.

Passenger Movement at TIA Doubled in 2014
Passenger movement at Tribhuvan International Airport (TIA) doubled in 2014 as compared to the previous year. TIA provided international aviation services to a total of 3.25 million passengers in 2014 against the target of 1.4 million. Similarly, 1.4 million domestic passengers were expected to receive services from TIA in 2014 but this number increased to 1.5 million, according to TIA General Manager Birendra Shrestha. Passenger movement has increased at TIA but the country’s only international airport’s capacity hasn’t been increased.

Similarly, Shrestha said that the Gautam Buddha Airport in Bhairahawa that will be upgraded to a regional international airport by 2017 will draw at least 20 percent of the air passengers currently using TIA to fly. Currently the air traffic at TIA is more than its capacity. A budget of Rs 3.2 billion was allocated for TIA in the last fiscal year i.e. 2014/15. The airport’s budget for FY 2015/16 has been set at Rs 4.6 billion. In the last fiscal year (2014/15), TIA collected more than Rs 6.71 billion in revenue – the highest for any given fiscal year so far.

Qatar Airways Agents Felicitated
Qatar Airways organised a programme on August 27 to recognise contributions made by its trade partners. During the event, the company felicitated Sumegh Tours & Travels (Burgundy Award), Yeti Travels (Silver Award), Megabyte Travels & Tours and Osho World Travel Nepal (Platinum Award). A special award was introduced this year for the business class- the Premium Award, which was won by Yeti Travels. 

The awards were presented by Qatar’s Ambassador to Nepal H.E. Ahmed Jasem Al-Hamar, Qatar Airways Acting Country Manager Rohan Bhadgaonkar and Airport Manager Debendranath Mallick. 

Qatar Airways operates three daily flights from Kathmandu to Doha, connecting Nepal to over 151 destinations worldwide.

Tara’s New Twin Otter
Tara Airlines has introduced a modern twin otter for internal flights in Nepal. The company, with an aim to promote rural tourism, bought the aircraft in cooperation with Great Himalayan Trail and UK Aid. The aircraft was bought for Rs 700 million from Canada, informed the company. The aircraft, with call sign 9N-AKL, has a capacity of 18 seats, and can easily fly to rural areas of Nepal.  With this addition, Tara now has five twin otter planes to fly to rural parts of Nepal. Speaking at a programme to launch the new aircraft, Tourism Minister Kripasur Sherpa said that the private sector is contributing to the tourism sector.

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