Govt unveils two eco-tourism products


KATHMANDU, Nov 10: Targeting the Nepal Tourism Year 2011 campaign, Ministry of Forests and Soil Conservation (MoFSC) and Nepal Tourism Board (NTB) jointly unveiled two eco-tourism products amid a program here Wednesday. The new destinations are Koshi Tappu Wildlife Reserve in eastern Nepal and Ghodaghodi Lake in the far western region.

“Though these destinations were already popular, they were attracting only a few visitors,” tourism expert Rabi Jung Pandey said. “Koshi, being the largest river of Nepal, can be developed as a riverside tourism product.” Only 238 foreigners and 3,000 Nepalis visited Koshi Tappu in 2008. “We can develop special packages to these destinations to extend tourists´ length of stay,” he added.

Addressing the program, Subash Nirola, senior director of NTB, said ownership identification along with product and site identification was important for sustainable tourism development. “Since it is not possible to build hotels everywhere, we can promote the home stay concept there,” he added.

Laxman Bhattarai, joint secretary at the Ministry of Tourism and Civil Aviation, said the government was positive about promoting the concept of eco-tourism and expressed hope that newly launched products would help attract more visitors to Nepal during NTY 2011. Koshi Tappu Wildlife Reserve, which is popular for bird watching, covers 16 VDCs in Sunsari, Saptari and Udayapur districts.

Number of tourists to SNP up SOLUKHUMBU: The number of tourists visiting Sagarmatha National Park (SNP) hit 12-year high of 9,407 in October. According to SNP´s office at Jorsalle, the number is the highest after 1998 when the country had celebrated Visit Nepal Year. October-November is regarded the peak season in Nepali tourism.

“The number was only 8,839 last year,” said Bikash Koirala, game scout at SNP. The number of tourists visiting the national park was 9,260 in the same period in 2008. Only 3,530 tourists had visited the area in October, 2002. “The number of tourists visiting the area has increased as we are seeing increment in the number of tourists from both air and land route after the beginning of peace process,” Koirala said. “The area was safe for tourists even during insurgency.”

Sagarmatha National Park is famous for Mt Everest - the tallest peak on earth, other mountains, beautiful Sherpa villages, Sherpa culture and tradition, different wildlife species and Tengboche Monastery.

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