Realizing the untapped potential of cross border tourism, the Nepal Tourism Board (NTB) along with HAN Chitwan and HAN Siddharthanagar who led a group of 21 travel trade companies of Chitwan and Lumbini, organized a business session with their counterparts of Lucknow, Varanasi, and Patna on June 17, 19 and 21, respectively, coinciding with the forthcoming VNY 2020 and existing Visit Lumbini Year 2018/19.
The cities were chosen considering Lucknow, the center of administrative and political power during the Mughals and British rule, to be famous for the Nawab, Kabab and Biryani and a sense of refined sensibility in terms of lifestyle in poetry, culture and affluent travel people; Varanasi and Patna on the other hands were because they were amongst the oldest cities of India welding considerable amount of influence in culture, history and pilgrimage activities along with the affluent traveling population.
The underlying strategy for the Sales Mission was to connect cross border tourism hub of Chitwan and Lumbini with cities of UP and Bihar, reach out to media for coverage, to make bookings, capitalize on the pleasant weather of Kathmandu and Pokhara along with the hill stations like Palpa and Nagarkot with special packages and lucrative offers and put Nepal on advantageous footing for leisure travel to Nepal this summer.
During the Sales Mission more than 200 tour operators, not less than 60 tour operators in each of the cities were updated and apprised with special packages ranging from 2 nights and 3 days and also Lumbini tours for visitors entering Nepal by Land. During the events, a wide range of packages ranging from – pilgrimage, adventure, leisure, shopping, casinos were also offered to Indians who comprise of single largest visitors which grew by 25 percent in 2018.
To make the event exciting and participatory, around 10 winners in all the three cities, all comprising of travel trade, were awarded travel packages to Nepal to experience the destination and services.
Prominent local media attending the event and taking updates were Hindustan Times, Dainik Jagran, Pioneer Hindi and English, Prabhat Khabar Patna, UP Live News, Aaj Varanasi, Webzone Media, Farooqui Tanzeem Patna, Travel TV News, Amar Ujala, PTI, Hindustan Times, Travtalk, traveltv.news, UNI and others. Regional languages press are very strong and influential in the region.
In the current scenario that the Indian market has opened up to a wide range of possibilities comprising of highly competitive airfare for Indians to Malaysia, Thailand, Singapore and Dubai and the domestic packages offered by highly competitive low budget Indian domestic airlines making air travel possible to all , now Nepal is left with the challenge to offer best packages and services and also ease travel barriers by accepting not only Passport and Election ID Card but other documents like Aadhar Card and others issued by India government and making group travel for youths and MICE segment more easier.
The prospects of cross border tourism is very bright since the roadways are very good and vehicles are affordable in India. To add to that, we are linking the movement of Indian Travelers with railway Junction, where Lucknow is connected to Nepalgunj, Raxual is connected to Birgunj, and Gorakhpur to Bhairahawa.
Currently the air connectivity of Buddha Air from Kathmandu to Varanasi and Kolkatta and in the future from Kathmandu to Guwahati; of Air India from Kathmandu to Kolkatta carries immense significance to tap the market with proper marketing activities and sustainable plan.
Ms. Heena Sheeraz, Director Sheeraj Travel, Lucknow, Mr. Pradeep K. Roy, Senior official of Varanasi Tourism Association, Dr. Hari P. Adhikari, Vice Chairman of Pashupati Temple Trust in Varanasi, Mr. Sanjay Sharma, President of Tourism Association of Bihar and Dr. Kaulesh Kumar, Secretary General of Association of Buddhist Tour Operators also shared their experiences on Nepal’s tourism.
HAN Chitwan President Mr. Suman Ghimire and HAN Sidharthanagar President Mr. CP Shrestha and HAN Sidharthanagar General Secretary Mr. Rabindra Sharma Ghimire welcomed the guests and highlighted their packages whereas Mr. Bimal Kadel, Manager, made destination presentations. Ms. Janaki Upadhyaya and Ms. Srijana Nepali both Officers NTB also participated in the events.