Quake-hit Nepal to come up with discounts to woo holidayers

As Nepal reopens for tourists after the devastating earthquake in April, the Himalayan nation is now coming up with discounted packages to bring back holidayers.

PTI| Updated: Jul 05, 2015, 15:45 PM IST

Kolkata: As Nepal reopens for tourists after the devastating earthquake in April, the Himalayan nation is now coming up with discounted packages to bring back holidayers.

Nepal's consul general Chandra Kumar Ghimire said they have asked hoteliers, tour operators and airlines to come up with packages at attractive rates ahead of the festive season.

"We want to assure tourists not only from India but from all over the world that Nepal is now ready to welcome tourists in the same spirit as it was earlier. We had meetings with those in the tourism business to come up with new tour packages at discounts," he said.

Anil Punjabi, chairman (east) of the Travel Agents Federation of India (TAFI), said tour operators will soon be ready with a 25 per cent discounted package.

"We want to tell people that this is the best time to visit Nepal. As a tourist you get a good deal from tour operators as well as get a chance to show your solidarity to Nepal for whom tourism is the second-highest foreign exchange earner," he said.

To bring back tourism in normalcy, some of the monuments in the heritage sites has been reopened on June 15.

Popular tourist areas like Chitwan, Pokhara, Annapurna region and Bardia have escaped widespread damage from the quake. Religious places like Lumbini, the birthplace of Lord Buddha, and temples like Pashupatinath and Muktinath have also been unaffected.

Nepal Tourism Board's official Maitrayee Ray said

although some of the 'tangible' heritage sites have collapsed, the 'intangible and unshakable' heritage, culture and tradition remained intact and alive.

Tour operators say they are also exploring to build new packages of western and eastern areas of Nepal which were never affected by the quake.

Ghimire said tourists have nothing to fear as there has been no damage to airports and highways.

"Only 10 out of 75 districts are affected. Our major wildlife sanctuaries are also safe to travel. Only two trekking routes are damaged and 3 out of 8 UNESCO sites have been badly affected," the envoy said.

He said recently a team of international experts from countries like New Zealand, Belgium, USA and Germany visited Nepal and have not found anything wrong in the trekking routes.

Annapurna and Khumbu are the most popular trekking routes in Nepal with an annual trekkers' footfall of around 1.5 lakh.

Officials said all debris has been removed from major heritage sites affected by the catastrophe.