Nilofar to have lesser impact in Nepal

Meteorologists have predicted that a tropical cyclone named Nilofar that originated in the Arabian Sea on Saturday will have lesser impact in Nepal compared to the previous Hudhud cyclone. However, they said that it would be wise not to continue trekking in western and central mountain regions from November 1 to 4.

The Hudhud cyclone had triggered blizzards that killed more than 40 people in western mountains of the country.

“However, as of now, it seems the Nilofar cyclone will not have severe impact in our country. Unlike Hudhud, the Nilofar cyclone may trigger average rainfall and snowfall,” said Shanti Kandel, a meteorologist at the Meteorological Forecasting Division (MFD). She said the effects of the cyclone will be largely felt in the western and central parts of the country.

“The remnants of the cyclone may affect western region of Nepal by November 1. The hills and Tarai region in the western and central regions may witness brief thundershowers while mountain areas of the regions may witness light snowfall,” added she.

According to MFD, the Nilofar cyclone will hit Nepal after November 1. Currently, the Nilofar cyclone hovers over Arabian Sea and it is expected to make landfall on coastal areas of North Gujarat and Pakistan by November 1.

Kandel said that the cyclone will have its affects till November 4.

However, she asked trekkers to hold back after November 1 till 4 as far as possible. “There will be snowfall in the mountain areas. So, it is better to hold back activities like trekking unless weather gets clear,” said she.

Source: Republica


Taan says government positive to ban on solo trekkers

The Trekking Agencies Association of Nepal (Taan) has resumed lobbying for a ban on solo or free independent trekkers due to safety concerns, and this time the government has taken kindly to its proposal.

Taan President Ramesh Dhamala said they planned to bar trekkers from setting off into the mountains without guides or porters by the beginning of 2015.

“We have requested the government to enforce the system, and it has agreed to our proposal in principle,” he said. The provision will ensure tourist safety and also stop agencies that have been operating illegally, he added. An estimated 40 percent of the total tourist arrivals to Nepal go walking in the Himalayan foothills for sightseeing.

Taan had proposed prohibiting trekking without guides or porters to the high-level committee formed to restructure the Nepal Tourism Board and manage the country’s tourism industry.

“We have been discussing the proposal of the private sector, and the government has taken it as a positive move,” said Madhusudan Burlakoti, chief of the Industry Division of the Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation.

“The government believes that making guides mandatory for trekkers will increase employment and ensure the safety of foreign travellers.”

Burlakoti, however, said that it would take some time to enforce the system as various laws needed to be reviewed first. There are more than 10,000 professional tourist guides including porters in Nepal.

The apex body of the country’s trekking agencies had announced that solo trekkers would have to take along a guide from Sept 1, 2012 as per government orders. However, it was forced to backtrack after the Tourism Ministry said it had not issued any such directive.

The proposed system had drawn mixed reactions from trekkers then with some complaining that it was a restriction on their freedom and others welcoming it as it would make trekking safer.

Dhamala added that family members of missing trekkers had also been urging Taan to enforce the rule as soon as possible. “There has been increased crime on the trekking routes which has raised serious concern.”

A number of trekkers have gone missing in recent years. In June 2012, a 23-year-old Belgian hiker Debbie Maveau was found dead near Langtang National Park. She had gone on a six-day hike to Gosaikund. She was expected to return to Belgium on June 9.

Taan said that in 2010, Aubrey Caroline Sacco, a student at the University of Colorado, disappeared in the same area. In December 2008, Julian Wynne, a British tourist trekking solo in the Everest region, went missing. Similar incidents happened in the Everest region in 2011 and 2014.

In 2006, police found the body of Kristina Kovacevic, a German trekker who had been reported missing, in Solukhumbu.

Taan said that hiring a guide would increase the cost for solo travellers, but it would ensure their safety. Currently, only group trekkers are accompanied by guides, and only a few FITs (free independent trekkers) take along a guide or porters.

Source: eKantipur


The budget for fiscal year 2014/15 has taken the policy of promoting Nepal

The budget for fiscal year 2014/15 has taken the policy of promoting Nepal as an attractive and safe tourism destination in the world.

Unveiling the budget, Finance Minister Dr Ram Sharan Mahat said the government would promote Great Himalaya Trail that spans from Taplejung in the east to Darchula in the west. The trail connects almost all the trekking areas of the country lying in the northerner parts of the country. It goes though base camps of almost all tallest peaks in the country.

Similarly, the government has allocated Rs 7.08 billion for the construction and upgradation of various airports across the country. It plans to install necessary equipment in Janakpur, Bhadrapur and Surkhet airports so that they support take off and landing of flights during night time. Similarly, the government has earmarked Rs 500 million to start preliminary works on the second international airport in Nijgadh of Bara. The government has also unveiled plans to upgrade Biratnagar, Nepalgunj and Dhangadi airports into well-equipped regional airports.

To strengthen the national flag carrier Nepal Airlines Corporation, the government has unveiled plan to acquire 22 new aircraft (15 for domestic and 7 for international operation) within the next five years. Similarly, the government has decided to waive off income tax for next 10 years for tourism entrepreneurs constructing resorts on the banks of Rara and other major lakes across the country.

The government has allocated another Rs 3.92 billion for tourism related infrastructure development and culture promotional programs.

Source: TAAN


Taking care of the Red Pandas

2,500 red pandas found in the world (estimated) and approx 150 in the Langtang  National Park, Nepal alone. Taking care of this endangered species, the locals have imposed the restriction in the Lantang area for two months to facilitate the mating of red pandas. This is the first time such a ban has been inacted. Locals have decided not to enter the habitat area of the red panda during their production period and no one shall be allowed to collect fodder and firewood from the forestland inside the national park.

Source: Republica

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