How Nepal is going to attract 1.5m tourists by 2020

Posted by - March 30, 2018

THE LANDLOCKED Himalayan nation of Nepal is known for its mountain peaks, delicious food and home to the Yeti, among many other cultural wonders.
The Nepalese Tourism Ministry has announced plans to entice 1.5 million tourists in 2020, with one-third of them coming from China.
The first tourism campaign was launched back in 1998 with Visit Nepal Year. Then in 2011, Nepal Tourism Year was launched to attract more visitors.
Welcome to Asia’s deepest caves 2018 is set to follow suit with Visit Nepal Year yet again, and they are very much on track to hit their 2020 figure, as 2017 saw 940,218 foreign visitors enter the country.
“China and India are two largest source markets for Nepal. But, there is still huge scope for more tourist arrivals from these two neighbors,” Krishna Prasad Devkota, secretary at the Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation told Xinhu.
“So, our main focus of promotional activities will be China and India for Visit Nepal Year,” he added.
In preparation for Visit Nepal Year, the nation is working closely with tourism boards from China and India to encourage travelers.
On top of this, they have promised to keep Nepal’s only international airport in Kathmandu open for 20 hours a day which is an additional three hours to its current opening times.
Tourism boards, numbers, and statistics aside, why is Nepal worth a visit? Let’s start with the incredible natural beauty. Mount Everest creeps inside Nepal’s borders and thousands of people from around the world flock here to climb to Everest’s base camp.
The trek is arduous but so worth the challenge, if not for self-fulfillment, then certainly for the pictures.
A post shared by Trekking & Tour 4 Fair Tourism (@trek_in_nepal) on Mar 17, 2018 at 1:49am PDT
Not many people are aware of Nepal’s wildlife. Nepal has a huge variety of bird species and is home to crocodiles, rhinos, deer, and even the elusive Bengal Tiger.
The clouded leopard also lives high up in the mountain tops and was thought to be extinct up until a few years ago when it was spotted prowling.
A post shared by Swaroop Singha Roy (@swaroopsingharoy) on Mar 28, 2018 at 8:32am PDT
Some say Nepal is the king of Unesco World Heritage Sites and they aren’t wrong.
In Kathmandu Valley alone, there are seven sites that all boast stunning beauty and cultural curiosity.
Philippines, Malaysia, Taiwan on international tourists’ radars Head to Hindu temple of god Shiva on the banks of the Bagmati River to see a network of buildings all dedicated to worship.
Smell the beautiful incense and admire those who have maintained this wondrous place.
A post shared by TODAY (@todayonline) on Nov 29, 2016 at 7:04am PST
Nepal is also super affordable for those traveling on a budget. Hotels can be a little as US$20 and guesthouses even cheaper at around US$5.
You can stroll around on your own, taking in the sites or booking an equally as cheap tour to discover inside knowledge and secrets about this holy land.
If you’re a real foodie and often find yourself traveling where your stomach tells you to, then you’ll be in for a treat in Nepal.
A post shared by Marian (@mari_prakriti) on Mar 20, 2018 at 11:23pm PDT
Nepal is home to many different ethnicities, which means the food is a combination of traditional and infused flavors.
With its neighbors being China and India, Nepal has its own versions of divine dumplings and delicious curries.
Notably, Dhal bhat, a traditional meal of lentil or chicken curry boiled rice with vegetables, pickles, and roti.
And then there are the fluffy stuffed momos which are Nepal’s take on Chinese dumplings.
A post shared by Raine & Horne, Brunswick (@rh.brunswick) on Mar 20, 2018 at 5:21pm PDT
Now you have a snippet of what the delightful nation has to offer, will you be participating this Visit Nepal Year?
The post How Nepal is going to attract 1.5m tourists by 2020 appeared first on Travel Wire Asia.

Climb, surf and dive in Asia’s capital of adventure tourism

Posted by - December 12, 2017

SRI LANKA picked up the award for Asia’s Leading Adventure Tourism Destination at the World Travel Awards this year, and it is little wonder why.
The island is a microcosm of varying climates and geography that offers visitors a chance to explore the highest regions at the top of its mountains, all the way down to the deepest depths of the warm Indian Ocean.
Here are a few adventures you can have in Sri Lanka.
The tourist dollar could keep Sri Lanka afloat after devastating floods Adventures under the waves A post shared by Sri Lanka Diving Tours (@sri_lanka_diving_tours_) on Apr 23, 2016 at 6:00pm PDT
The island is known for its incredible surfing conditions as well as scuba diving and snorkeling. As other oceans witness their coral reefs dying because of human interference, Sri Lanka still has sea beds full of coral gardens, home to curiously colorful fish, accompanied by ancient shipwrecks once crewed by treasure hunters and fishermen. The Indian Ocean surrounding Sri Lanka is one of the richest and most intriguing diving spots in the world.
A post shared by Bhushan Bagadia (@bhushanbagadiapositives) on Feb 17, 2016 at 4:18am PST
The swell above the water has intrigued surfers for the last 25 years with many surf competitions being held around the island throughout the year. Whitewater rafting, kayaking, and canoeing have all recently gained popularity on the island, with many tour operators running tried and tested as well as bespoke on-the-water tours.
A post shared by Surf School Sri Lanka (@surfschoolsrilanka) on Dec 11, 2017 at 2:36am PST
Creating memories for curious animal lovers A post shared by (@bubblebaths_) on Jan 3, 2017 at 6:02pm PST
Sri Lanka boasts one of the world’s most diverse and healthiest ecosystems, including both animals and plants, the island has one of the highest rates of biological endemism. With 91 species of mammals including Sri Lanka Asian elephants, sloth bears, leopards, sambar and wild buffaloes, the island attracts those with a curiosity for wildlife.
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The country offers a plethora of safari tours, with the chance to see leopards, elephants, rare red slender Loris, even rare Toque Macaque, over 400 species of birds and one of the world’s richest diversities of amphibians.
Hiking and trekking A post shared by Masako︎Chad︎traveland (@mktraveland) on Sep 27, 2017 at 7:08am PDT
When you need a break from soaking up the glorious sunshine on the golden beaches down at sea level, why not trek up to the island’s breath-taking mountains. Sri Lanka is home to miles of misty green landscapes, filled with green tea bushes, orchids, dazzling waterfalls and small mountain villages.
Yala National Park is one of the best-loved forests on the island. Explorers can walk the footsteps of prowling leopards and watch over the treetops where the birds can be found whistling. Throughout the lush forests lay ruins of forgotten temples, just waiting to be discovered.
Got a head for heights? A post shared by Dhammika Mahendra (@dhamz.89) on Jul 2, 2017 at 4:40am PDT
The vertical summits of Sri Lanka’s mountain range include Knuckles Range, Ella Range, Habarana, Sigiriya, Polonnaruwa, Horton Plains and Buttala, all of which provide amateur and experienced climbers with an exciting challenge. As you climb with an expert instructor you can look down (if you dare) to see the emerald treetops bustling with busy wildlife activity.
A post shared by SummitMadness (@summitmadness) on Mar 12, 2017 at 8:30pm PDT
If you’re looking for something a little less taxing but you still want to get up in the skies, take a hot air balloon tour. The balloon drifts silently above the forest, with the occasional burst of gas causing grazing wildlife below to spirt off to safety. This is an excellently relaxing, yet adventurous way to see a huge scope of Sri Lanka’s hidden treasures.
Explore the wilderness in Sri Lanka and create adventerous memories that will be hard to top.
The post Climb, surf and dive in Asia’s capital of adventure tourism appeared first on Travel Wire Asia.

Unsustainable adventure tourism threatening Chiang Mai’s protected forests

Posted by - November 6, 2017

SEVEN adventure tourism operations around Chiang Mai have been closed down by Thai officials after investigators found evidence of encroachment on protected national park land.
Adventure tourism has become increasingly popular with Chinese and Western tourists who visit Chiang Mai in Northern Thailand, as travelers seek unusual and exciting holiday experiences which they can share on social media. Demand for ziplining, which is among the most popular adventure experiences, has grown significantly, particularly with the influx of Chinese tour groups which have fueled Chiang Mai’s tourism boom. It is estimated that round 300,000 visitors use ziplines in Chiang Mai each year, over half of whom are Chinese.
Adventure tourism is also a very profitable business, with ziplines costing each tourist anything from US$75 to US$150, tour operators are able to take in thousands of dollars each day. Recognizing a lucrative opportunity, zipline businesses have sprung up in the mountains and forests all around Chiang Mai. Unfortunately, lax regulations and controls enabled some of these organisations to set up, and profit, illegally.
SEE ALSO: The rise of adventure tourism (and where to immerse in it)

Reconnect with Beautiful Mother Nature in the most Exciting way possible!
— Flight of the Gibbon (@TreeTopAsia) October 18, 2017
In this recent crackdown on forest encroachment, the Special Operation Unit from the Royal Forest Department investigated twelve zipline companies: Flight of the Gibbon, Skyline Adventure, Dragon Flight Chiang Mai Zipline, Jungle Flight Chiang Mai, The Giant Chiang Mai, Thai Jungle, Flying Squirrels Chiang Mai, Monjam Zipline, Tarzan Canopy, Zipline Chiang Mai, Kaeng Kued Elephant Camp and Skytrack.
Seven of the zipline businesses were found to be encroaching on protected forests and are accused of operating without land deeds. Three of the illegal zipline operations have already been demolished. According to the director-general of the Royal Forest Department, the oldest zipline operation in Chiang Mai, Flight of the Gibbon, was found to have expanded their operations beyond the area indicated on their land deeds. Officials have accused the company of expanding their land by an extra 34 rai.
The Special Operation Unit also investigated 18 hotels and resorts in Mae Tha Chang and Mae Kanin National Parks, which were suspected of illegally operating on protected forest land.
Trees in Chiang Mai’s Khun Mae Kuang Forest Reserve allegedly marked for being cut down. Source: Facebook
Luxury homes owned by foreigners in the same national parks were found to have been built illegally. The foreign owners are now appealing to the director-general of the Royal Forest Department, claiming they were sold the land under false pretences and that they were never informed that the land, which they thought they had bought, was on a protected national park.
According to the Tourism Police Bureau acting deputy commissioner Surachate Hakparn and the Forestry chief Cholathit Suratwadee, these recent inspections were part of a joint operation which has been investigating over 100 cases of encroachment in Chiang Mai.
SEE ALSO: Vietnam must embrace sustainable practices to save tourism

The investigations into forest encroachment across Chiang Mai province also raise questions over corruption among local officials. It is difficult to believe that eighteen resorts, a hillside of luxury homes and eight zipline operations, some which had access to public utilities, sprung up in the hills around Chiang Mai without the knowledge of local authorities. It would have been impossible for this much construction to take place in a national park without “permission” from someone. It remains to be seen whether the ongoing investigations will uncover any evidence of corruption.
This is not the first time that adventure tourism operations around Chiang Mai have been closed down by authorities, although the reason for previously closures was linked to fatalities, serious accidents and inadequate safety standards.
There have been a few high profile fatalities on ziplines in Chiang Mai over the past few years, including, the deaths of a man and woman who jumped off a 1,300ft platform without being secured, the death of a Chinese women at the Flying Squirrel zipline (initially, the zipline operator claimed that the victim died of shock but doctors later confirmed she broke her neck), and the death of 44 year old Suxongtao, from China, which according Skyline Adventure “was tourist’s fault”.
SEE ALSO: These attractions are limiting tourist numbers to preserve their sites
A tourist at a zip-lining attraction in Chiang Mai, Thailand. Source: TripAdvisor.
Of equal concern is the number of serious injuries, which can often cost families thousands of dollars in medical fees, There are no publicly available figures for the exact number of injuries sustained by tourists on ziplines in Chiang Mai because these injuries go largely unreported. According to a local news website, Chiang Mai City Life, most incidents are not reported to the press because of payments, and pressure, from the tour operators. Citylife also suggests that fatalities at adventure tourism resorts around Chiang Mai have gone unreported.
Questions over the safety of Chiang Mai’s ziplines led the Tourism and Sports Ministry to introduce new laws to regulate adventure tourism operations and improve safety standards. Updated regulations include improved brake systems, extra safety slings, adjusting the degree of incline to ensure ziplines are not too steep, covering trees with impact absorbent cushions, and improving safety protocols for staff.
While these new regulations sound like an important step towards improved safety standards, it is unclear how stringently they will be enforced. Considering that ziplines in the US suffer from inadequate safety inspections, it is likely that Thai officials will also struggle to ensure all of the adventure tourism businesses in Chiang Mai’s forests run according to the rule of law.
The post Unsustainable adventure tourism threatening Chiang Mai’s protected forests appeared first on Travel Wire Asia.