Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Guerrilla tourist trail launched in Nepal

The one-time leader of Nepal's Maoist insurgency on Tuesday launched a new tourist trekking trail, giving visitors the chance to retrace the guerrillas' footsteps.
The Guerrilla Trek, a three-week hike which stretches across central and western Nepal, is designed to draw in more foreigners as the Himalayan nation seeks to rebuild an economy devastated by the 1996-2006 "People's War".
An estimated 16,000 people died in the decade-long conflict fought by Prachanda and his fellow Maoists against the once-absolute monarchy. The rebels later turned to politics and took power in elections two years later.
The trek passes through Nepal's lush valleys that stand in the shadow of mountains including Dhaulagiri and through dramatic waterfalls, lakes and the country's only hunting reserve, according to the organizers.
The Maoists were the largest party in the parliament until its dissolution in May over the failure to deliver a post-war constitution.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

TIMS fee to be reduced for SAARC Country Nationals

With the objective of attracting more South Asian tourists, particularly Indians, Trekking Agencies Association of Nepal (TAAN) and Nepal Tourism Board (NTB) have decided to lower the Trekkers´ Information Management System (TIMS) fee for SAARC countries by 70 percent.
A recent meeting of TAAN and NTB reduced the fee to US$ 3 per person for tourists traveling in groups through trekking agency and $6 per person for FITs (Free Independents Travelers). 

The existing TIMS fee which is a mandatory for trekking to Everest, Langtang and Annapurna region is $10 and $20 per person for group and solo trekkers, respectively. However, no changes have been made in TIMS fee for tourists other than from the South Asian region. 

Although almost 20 percent of the total tourists include trekking in their itineraries, the participation of tourists from South Asian region in trekking is negligible. 

Tourism entrepreneurs are hopeful that the special fee for SAARC countries will attract more tourists at a time when Nepal is being considered as an expensive destination compared to other tourist destinations in South East Asia. 

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

End of solo trekking in Nepal

From September 1, solo tourists traveling to any trekking destination in Nepal will have to take at least one certified porter or guide with them. The measure, first announced by the Ministry of Home Affairs last month, is intended to ensure the safety of tourists as well as to promote jobs for local guides. This measure also seeks to minimize illegal trekking agencies operated by foreigners.

The announcement follows the disappearance of a number of solo tourists and  the murder of a Belgian trekker hiking in Nepal's Langtang National Park earlier this year. Groups of trekkers are already required to use government-registered trekking agencies.

From September 1, solo trekkers will need to allow for an additional fee to hire a certified porter or guide. Certified porters or guides have completed a six-month training course which includes orientation training as well as emergency procedures to support the travelers. Porters or guides speak several languages including English, Spanish, German, and French, among others.

Nepal and its iconic Himalaya mountains have attracted huge numbers of tourists since the country first opened its borders in the 1950s. Hikers come to experience the relatively easy trails to the famous Everest or Annapurna peaks, among others. The latest report published by the Immigration Office of Nepal shows a total of 719,597 international tourist arrivals to the country in 2011, mainly from neighbors India, China and Sri Lanka, followed by British and Americans. Around 10% of the total number of international tourists came to the country to do trekking.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Tiger population doubles in Nepal

Camera traps in Nepal's Bardia National Park identified 37 tigers living in and near the park in 2011, a marked increase from two years before when only 18 were recorded there, according to the conservation group World Wildlife Fund (WWF). The credit to the increase goes to the commitment of the Nepalese government to protect the endangered big cats and crack down on illegal poaching, as well as better training and resources given to park rangers, cooperation by local communities and improvements in grassland habitat.

 The growth of the Royal Bengal Tiger in this region shows that the animals can rebound quickly if given the opportunity. "This is a result of the government's commitment to doubling Nepal's tiger numbers [by 2022] and is proof positive that this goal is achievable if grassroots efforts by local communities and rangers on the frontlines of tiger conservation are complemented by high-level political support," said a research worker.

Rangers have cracked down on poaching, arresting more 300 poachers and traders in the country in 2011 alone. The local communities and the Nepalese government have doubled the number of guard posts in the park since 2008.

However, illegal hunting of the endangered cats throughout their range remains an enormous threat to their survival and is fueled by growing demand for their parts, which are traditionally thought to have medicinal value (despite strong evidence to the contrary). Camera traps used in the study, published in an announcement by the government of Nepal, also found tigers moving through the Khata wildlife corridor to reach India's Katarniaghat Wildlife Sanctuary. These wildlife corridors are vital for allowing the animals to move throughout their range, and in the future, the WWF plans to better protect and improve the habitats of these pathways in Nepal and elsewhere.

Researchers have improved grassland habitats by removing trees and conducting controlled burns over the past few years, which has allowed ungulates and other deer species — a primary food source for tigers — to thrive. Tigers can have many offspring if they are healthy; photographs by tourists suggest that one Nepalese female has given birth to eight cubs in the past few years.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Snow leopard in the Himalayas threatened by climate change

Nepal's elusive snow leopards, thought to number just 500 in the wild, are under threat from warmer and wetter weather in the Himalayas that is reducing their habitat. Changing weather patterns are pushing forests further into the leopards' territory and they could lose 40 percent of their hunting grounds by the end of the century, scientists from environmental group WWF have concluded.
"Loss of alpine habitat not only means less room for snow leopards, but also has the potential to bring them closer to human activities like livestock grazing," said WWF snow leopard expert. "As grazing intensifies and the leopards' natural prey decline, they could begin preying more heavily on livestock, resulting in increased retaliatory killings."
Experts believe just 500 adults survive in Nepal's Himalayas, and few can claim ever to have seen the secretive, solitary animal sometimes referred to as a "mountain ghost".
The animal lives in high alpine areas, above the treeline but generally below 5,000 metres (16,500 feet), where they are able to stealthily track their prey, usually wild goat-like ruminants, deer, boars and some smaller mammals.
The scientists used computer climate models and on-the-ground tracking of snow leopards' movements in the Nepalese Himalayas and its other known habitats.
They envisaged a worst-case scenario of the big cat's 20,000 square kilometre (7,700 sq mile) territory being reduced to 11,700 sq km by the end of the century

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Three new paragliding companies to come into operation in Pokhara

The Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal (CAAN) has lifted the restriction on issuance of new operating license for paragliding companies in Nepal. The new companies queuing up to obtain license include Flying Himalayan paragliding, Mountain View Paragliding and Fly Nirvana. All the three companies are based in Pokhara. Earlier, citing increasing air traffic congestion in Pokhara airport the Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal (CAAN) had stopped issuance of permits for new companies. 

Thursday, May 17, 2012

World’s highest marathon on May 29.

The 10th edition of Coca -Cola Tenzing-Hillary Everest Marathon is scheduled to be held on May 29th, 2012. 

Organising a press conference in Kathmandu on Thursday, organisers Himalaya Expeditions Inc. and Adventure Sports Nepal said that race starts from expeditionary Everest Base Camp (5364 meter), near the Khumbu Glacier and ends at Namche Bazaar (3446 meter), the capital town of Sherpas covering a distance of 42.195 km.

The main purpose of this dubbed “World Highest Marathon” is to develop a new and unique tourism product to help uplift tourism in Nepal and contribute to opening up new international tourism markets and increase the number of visitors. 

Tenzing-Hillary Everest Marathon was first conducted on 29th May, 2003 to commemorate and celebrate the 50th anniversary of the first successful ascent of Mt. Everest by Tenzing Norgay Sherpa and Edmund Hillary during in 1953.

About Me

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Sanjiv is a native Himalayan travel professional involved in hospitality industry for almost 2 decade. leading outdoor trips in the Himalayas to the Alps, Sanjiv has acquired invaluable skills in Eco tourism and ways it can benefit individuals and societies. Along with some leading organizations in Nepal, Sanjiv has ventured into giving something back to the society and the environment he operates his tours.