Pacific Asia Travel Associ-ation (Pata) Nepal Chapter has said it will hold the Himalayan Travel Mart 2017 in Kathmandu from June 1.
The four-day event aims at redefining adventure tourism and establishing Nepal as gateway to the Himalaya. It will bring together foreign buyers and tourism professionals from various tourist generating countries.
Prior to the mart, Pata will hold International Bloggers and Media Conference—the first of its kind in the country—from May 22 to June 1.
“The objective of both the events is to make Nepal as an event-friendly destination and reposition Nepal in the map of global tourism,” said Suman Pandey, president of Pata Nepal, at a programme in Kathmandu on Sunday.
The Travel Mart will be a magnificently productive event for Nepal, which is struggling to revive the tourism industry, he said. Fifty buyers and sellers each will participate in the event.
The long-planned Travel Mart had been in limbo amid controversy surrounding Nepal Tourism Board (NTB).
The first Himalayan International Travel Mart was organised by Nepal Association of Tour and Travel Agents (Natta) in 2005, attracting more than 200 tour operators from South and Southeast Asian countries.
The International Bloggers and Media Conference aims at bring at least 30 top bloggers and 20 international media from around the world to Nepal and give them an instant update on the country’s various locations and experiences. The objective of the campaign is to promote the tourism recovery campaign in Nepal through digital media platform.
Tourism Ministry Secretary Shankar Adhikari said despite abundant resources, Nepal is still struggling to receive a sizable number of tourists and generate revenue from them.
In South Asia, Nepal’s tourism revenue share stands at just 1.4 percent, while it receives only 5 percent of tourists visiting the region.
“This figure indicates we are at the bottom of the tourism recipient table. We have not been able to attract high-end tourists. Besides, the length of stay of visitors in Nepal is low,” he said. “The figure is disappointing, but we can do a lot to improve our destination image.”
Andrews Jones, chairman of Bangkok-based Pata, said Nepal needs to disburse tourists to new and emerging destinations besides traditional locations.
Tourist arrivals to Nepal fell to a six-year low of 538,970 in 2015 as last year’s earthquake and subsequent Tarai unrest kept visitors away, according to government statistics.
Nepal received 251,148 less tourists last year, representing a sharp drop of 31.78 percent, compared to 2014 figures.
The impact of the killer quake was bigger for Nepal’s tourism industry with arrivals plunging 55.59 percent to 97,510 during the four-month period (May-August) following the disaster.
Just as the tourism industry was picking itself up, it received another knockout blow from a fuel shortage resulting from India’s trade embargo against Nepal last year.