Special Correspondent

Wants to woes 35 per cent more tourists from India

CHENNAI: The Nepal Tourism Board has launched an aggressive campaign to tap the south Indian travel market.

Indians accounted for 33 per cent of tourist arrivals in Nepal in 2006.

"The Board has set an ambitious target of attracting 35 per cent more tourists from India during 2007 and, to achieve this objective, it will focus on popularising `Visit Pokhara Year-2007' launched on January 1," Nandini Lahe Thapa, Director, NTB Marketing and Promotion, said here on Thursday.

Package tours

On the tourism promotion initiatives launched by the Union Ministries of Tourism and Culture and Civil Aviation, the Board and the Pokhara Tourism Council, Ms. Thapa told a news conference that the modalities of special package tours to Nepal coinciding with the `Visit Pokhara Year' were being worked out in consultation with travel and tour operators in India.

Pokhara is a gateway to Muktinath, a holy town for the Hindus.

Direct flights

Nepal Airlines had evinced interest in direct flights between Kathmandu and Chennai. There were 45 flights a week linking Delhi, Kolkata and Varanasi. Indian, Jet Airways, and Air Sahara were now operating regular flights to Kathmandu.

Among several attractions, including the Pashupathinath temple and pilgrimage tours to Kailash Manasarovar, the mountain flight that offers a glimpse of the snow-capped mountains in the Himalayan region was a hit among tourists. The one-hour flight costs Rs.3,000 per passenger and is operated using Fokker and Dornier planes.