The World's 14 Highest Mountain Peaks (above 8,000 meters)
Nepal is home to Eight out of the Fourteen highest peaks in the world
All 14 of the world's 8,000-meter peaks are located in the Himalaya or the Karakoram ranges in Asia. According to Everestnews.com, only 14 climbers have reached the summits of all 14: Reinhold Messner (Italy) was first, followed by Jerzy Kukuczka (Poland), Ehardt Loretan (Switzerland), Carlos Carsolio (Mexico), Krzysztof Wielicki (Poland), Juan Oiarzabal (Spain), Sergio Martini (Italy), Park Young Seok (Korea), Hang-Gil Um (Korea), Alberto Inurrategui (Spain), Han Wang Yong (Korea), Ed Viesturs (U.S.), Alan Hinkes (British), and Silvio Mondinelli (Italy).
Note: The 1955 elevation of Everest, 29,028 ft. (8,848 m), was revised on Nov. 11, 1999, and now stands at 29,035 ft. (8,850 m).
Highlights of the newly signed peace accord include:
- Formal end of the Maoists' People's War that began in 1996
- No political rights to King; his property to be nationalised underv public trusts
- Implementation of all previous agreements reached betweenv the government and Maoists.
- Maoists' People's Liberation Army and Nepalv Army and their arms to be managed as per the earlier agreement reached between the government and the CPN (Maoist).
- No attacks or any kind of violent andv offensive activities from either side; no new recruitments in armed forces of both sides.
- OHCHR-Nepal to monitor human rights situation, and UN Team tov monitor and supervise PLA cantonments and Nepal Army barracks
- Fullv commitment to upholding human rights, all international human rights laws, civil liberties.
- Maoists' parallel administration (People's governments, People's Courts) across the country to be scrapped.
- National Peace andv Rehabilitation Commission, Truth Commission, and a high-level Commission for State Restructuring to be formed.
- Feudal land-ownership system to end,v Scientific land distribution system to be adopted.
- Strong punitive policy against corruption.
- Property earned illegally by anybody throughv corruption to be confiscated.
- Possession, display and use of arms andv weapons by anybody a punishable crime.
- Both government and Maoists tov assist each other to maintain law peace, law and order.
- Respectful rehabilitation and social integration of the people displaced during the insurgency.
Meanwhile, the UN, US, India and others have welcomed the announcement of the comprehensive peace accord.
The slacked economic sector, especially tourism, is expected to revive with the formal ending of the internal conflict.
TAAN welcomes peace accord
Trekking Agents Association of Nepal (TAAN) has welcomed the historic Comprehensive Peace Accord signed by the government of the Seven Party Alliance and the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist).
The landmark political development has marked the end of the decade-long internal conflict, a press release signed by the President of TAAN, Mr. Narendra B.C. states.
It is important that all the major political parties, including the CPN (Maoist), have shown their strong commitment to work towards restoring peace and stability and accelerating the almost stalled economic development process in Nepal.
TAAN, an umbrella organisation of the country's registered trekking agencies, has hoped that the signing of the peace agreement would reinstate Nepal's image as a safe and peaceful tourist destination in the international arena. The end of the conflict would also be helpful in promoting the country's vast and unique tourism resources.
At this important hour, we would like to call upon all the tourism-related organisations, including Nepal Tourism Board (NTB) and Nepal Airlines Corporation (NAC), to come up with more effective promotional programmes to give a desired boost to the Nepalese tourism industry. TAAN is always ready to move ahead hand in hand with all the concerned organisations for tourism promotion, the press release says.
Project launched to market rural tourism products
In a bid to market Nepal's unlimited rural tourism products in the international arena, the Marketing Assistance for Sustainable Tourism (MAST)-Nepal was launched in the capital on November 23, 2006.
Addressing a launching ceremony, Secretary at the Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation, Mr. Madhav Prasad Ghimire pointed out the need for Nepal to do something important to promote the country's vast rural tourism products in the international market in a sustainable manner.
Being a pioneering project in the field of tourism marketing, MAST has been introduced with the financial and technical support of the European Union's Asia Invest Programme, SNV Nepal and Leeds Metropolitan University of the United Kingdom and coordinated by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP).
The project aims to enhance the capability of the tour operators in marketing our rural tourism products.
Mr. Ghimire expressed the hope that the establishment of peace in Nepal would help revive the country's tourism business.
Highlighting the importance of the development of aviation sector in tourism promotion, he said that the government was working out plans for increasing air access to Nepal.
He assured that the government would introduce more comprehensive tourism policy and strengthen the national carrier—Nepal Airlines Corporation.
Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Nepal Tourism Board (NTB) Mr. Tek Bahadur Dangi expressed the belief that the Nepalese tourism industry would witness an unprecedented growth in the days to come because of the newly signed peace accord.
Speaking at the function, programme officer of UNEP, Ms. Garrete E. Clark said that the best sustainable tourism practices in Nepal would be showcased in other countries of the world.
On the occasion, Country Director of SNV-Nepal Mr. Mathias Moyersoen, representative of European Union delegation to Nepal Mr. Giap Dang, Assistant Resident Representative of UNDP Mr. Vijay Singh, representative of Leed Metropolitan University, UK, Mr. Richard Taper and Tourism Marketing Director of NTB and NTB focal person for MAST-Nepal Mrs. Nandini Lahe Thapa spoke various aspects of the new tourism project.
Mithila festival marked in Janakpurdham
The Bibahapanchami (Sita-Ram marriage) festival was celebrated with much fanfare in Janakpurdham, the ancient capital of the Mithila state, on November 25, 2006.
Devotees worshipped Lord Ram and Goddess Sita at the local temples after taking holy dips in the religiously famous ponds of Gangasagar, Dhanushasagar and Argaja.
On the day of Bibahapanchami, the wedding ceremony of Ram and Sita is commemorated. This is the largest festival in the area. Devotees from various parts of Nepal and India, and Hindu devotees from different parts of the world, take part in the festival.
Meanwhile, addressing the concluding ceremony of the festival, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Foreign Affairs Mr. K.P. Sharma Oli stressed on the need to preserve the art, culture and language of the Mithila region.
REGISTRATION REQUIRED FOR TREKKERS
With a view to checking illegal operations in the trekking industry and ensuring safety and security of trekkers, the Nepal Government has introduced a new rule that requires all trekkers to go on trekking in various parts of the country only through registered trekking agencies after obtaining a Trekking Registration Certificate (TRC) from Trekking Agents Association of Nepal (TAAN). As an umbrella organization of more than 550 registered trekking companies of Nepal, TAAN has been authorized by the Nepal Government to issue TRC and the new rule is scheduled to come into force from October 1, 2006. TAAN will charge a minimum amount of money as administrative and service fee for issuing TRC. As a record of trekkers, TRC incorporates their personal details, trekking route, duration, etc. The provision is introduced in order to upgrade the service standard and for better management of sustainable mountain tourism development in Nepal. Trekking without TRC is illegal and subject to charge fines and other penalties in accordance with the laws of the Nepal Government. However, foreign guests visiting Nepal at the invitation of the Nepal Government, foreign officials, who deserve facilities as diplomats, and other foreign nationals working for development projects in Nepal, do not need to obtain TRC if they are not visiting the trekking areas as trekkers. But they must possess supportive documents and show them to the concerned officials at the check posts.
IMPORTANCE AND NECESSITY OF TRC
It is very important to have a kind of monitoring and facilitating system in place for any sort of outdoor activity that involves physical risk. Trekking is a major outdoor activity in Nepal's mountain tourism. Given the rugged physical condition and remoteness of almost all trekking areas of Nepal's Himalayan mountain region, a record system is very essential that would be helpful in monitoring the safety and security of trekkers. The past experiences have shown that difficulties have been faced while carrying out rescue operations promptly during the times of natural calamities. Because of lack of proper record system of trekkers, their exact whereabouts and the information about trekking routes, rescue and search missions used to face difficulties in spotting the trekkers missing.
The Nepal Government is very serious about implementing TRC as a mechanism to control all sorts of anomaly, including illegal operations, and to ensure safety and security of trekkers. Therefore, TAAN, as a national tourism organization working in the field of sustainable mountain tourism in Nepal, has been entrusted with the responsibility of implementing TRC. As per TAAN’s proposed hassle-free procedure, TRC is being issued to each and every trekker traveling only through the registered trekking agencies.
The decision regarding the introduction of TRC is a welcome step taken in its policies and programmes by the Nepal Government. So, TAAN is in the process of developing a well-managed and efficient system with nominal service charge of Nepali rupees 250 (equivalent US$ 3.5 only) to implement TRC in the open trekking areas of Nepal. TRC is going to be issued from convenient locations of Kathmandu and Pokhara.
TRC ISSUING SYSTEM
The following considerations have been taken into account in the process of issuing TRC:
1. All important details of trekkers and trekking routes will be maintained on a computerized record system that may be useful for safety and security of trekkers and field-staff.
2. The data generated from the system will be useful to all stakeholders -- tourism organizations, government agencies, diplomatic missions, tour operators, research institutes, etc.
3. Unauthorized trekking operations will be controlled, thus, resulting into better management of trekking service and in benefit of all concerned - trekkers, agencies, field - staff, government, etc. and also occasional untoward incidents will be better prevented.
4. TAAN will be able to work more in its effort of preservation of natural and cultural environment in cooperation with local communities. This, in turn, will enable to promote sustainable tourism.
5. The issue of TRC will be so simplified that it would be prompt and inexpensive. The convenient TRC counter in Kathmandu will remain open 12 hours a day all the seven days a week round the year. Pokhara counter will be opened for 9 hours a day. The TRC counters will be located close to the counters of the National Parks and Conservation Areas.
6. TAAN’s Media Centre will have updated information about the conditions of trails and other relevant insights into the trekking areas. The same information also will be updated frequently in the TAAN's web page. Some of the check posts along the trekking routes will be equipped with telephone services by TAAN.
TRC REGULATORY PROVISIONS
1. Trekkers must keep Trekking Registration Certificate (TRC) along with them while trekking.
2. TRC must be shown to TAAN authorities, National Park check posts, Conservation Area Project’s check posts and police check posts on demand.
3. Deviation from the prescribed trekking areas shall be taken as a violation of law of the Government of Nepal
4. Trekkers must keep their copies of passports along with them during trekking for verification.
5. TRC shall be non-transferable, non-refundable and non-endorsable and valid only for single entry.
TAAN also requests all concerned stakeholders to help disseminate the above information to potential trekkers to Nepal and other related offices and agencies. Any inconvenience that may arise due to implementation of this new rule is regretted. Urgent measures for tourism revival stressed
Japanese climbers scale Mt. Manaslu, Mt. Panbari
Eight members of the Japanese Mt. Manaslu Expedition 2006 climbed Mt. Manaslu (8,163m.) on October 1, 2006, according to the Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation (MoCTCA).
Those who made it to the top were Yoshitomi Okura, 55, Takeshi Ogawa, 65, and Masami Yamanashi, 64, of Japan, and Sherab Jangbu Sherpa, 37, Nima Tenji Sherpa, 36, Pemba Gyalzen Sherpa, 38, Ongje Sherpa, 23, and Nima Gyalzen Sherpa, 30.
The team, which was led by Yoshitomi Okura, had made the attempt on the peak to mark the 50th anniversary of the first ascent of Mt. Manaslu in 1956.
Similarly, five members of the Japan Alpine Club Panbari Himal Expedition 2006 scaled the 6,887-metre Mt. Panbari on September 24, 2006. The climbers included Yoshimi Kato, 22, Sakaya Koyama, 22, Yosuke Urabe, 25, Kenro Nakajima, 22, and Gakuto Komiya 21, of Japan. The team was led by Yoshimi Kato.
BBC Holiday Programme to promote Nepal
A five-member team of BBC Holiday Programme returned home recently after completing its weeklong filming programme in various touristically important places of Nepal.
During the stay in Nepal, the team visited cultural and historical places of the Kathmandu Valley and the Chitwan National Park. Moreover, they experienced mountain flight, and whitewater rafting in the Seti River.
With around six million viewers worldwide, BBC Holiday Programme is expected to play a vital role in promoting Nepal worldwide as a prime tourist destination in the international arena.
At a farewell reception hosted in honour of the popular channel's team in the capital, Mr. Bikrum Pandey, managing director of the Himalayan Expeditions (P) Ltd. that handled the team in Nepal, expressed the hope that Nepal would get a massive positive publicity with the airing the programme.
"As the political situation of Nepal is returning to normalcy, the BBC's film could send positive message to their millions of viewers about Nepal as the most exciting cultural and adventure holiday destination," said Mr. Pandey.
He also thanked team leader Mr. Owen Gay and other members for their effort to promote Nepal's tourism resources.
On behalf of the BBC team, leader Gay said that the trip was quite exiting. He was happy that he sighted a Royal Bengal Tiger as well in Chitwan.
Other members of the team were Mr. Anthony Cranck, Mr. Dean Johnson, Mr. Wade Muller and Ms. Jessica Morris.
Suketar airport reopens
The Suketar airport in the Taplejung district has reopened since October 6, 2006 after three-month closure. With the reopening of the airport, the Nepal Airlines Corporation (NAC) has resumed its flights from Biratnagar to Taplejung.
According to the airport management, NAC operates three flights a week and the Yeti Airlines flies once a week.
Located at a height of 2,480 metres above sea level, the airport is in operation from October to July. During other months, the airport remains close due to bad weather.
Nepal takes part in JATA mart
Nepal Tourism Board, Nepal Airlines and private sector of Nepal jointly participated in the JATA Congress and World Travel Fair 2006 held between September 21 and 24, 2006 in Tokyo, Japan.
This year, a large number of exhibitors from all over the world took part in the mart. The According to the Japan Association of the Travel Agents (JATA), about 38048 trade visitors and media persons and more than 68,000 consumers visited the fair this year. NTB participated at the said fair with the new tourism branding theme "Naturally Nepal, Once is not Enough."
A large number of consumers visited the Nepal stand and collected latest information on Nepal at the mart, according to NTB.
Japan is one of the top tourism source markets in terms of outbound numbers as well as tourism spending. According to the Japan Tourism Marketing Corp. the Japanese outbound market has grown significantly due to the recuperated travelers' confidence and the total number of overseas Japanese visitors reached 17,403,565 in 2005. The departure figure of Japanese nationals till June, 2006 is 8.3 million and is expected to reach the level of 2000 when 17,81,8590 Japanese traveled abroad.
Japanese tourist arrival to Nepal till August 2006 is 9027 (by air only).
More foreign airlines flying to Nepal
With the cease-fire turning into permanent peace, the entire tourism industry is in the process of revival. Both the Seven Party Alliance (SPA) government and the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) leaderships have expressed their commitment that they would give the much-required positive message to the country soon by holding summit peace talks before the Dashain festival.
Against this backdrop, some six international airlines are in the process of operating their flights to Nepal soon. According to the latest news reports, GMG Bangladesh, Orient Thai, Air Arabia, Korean Air, Etihad, and Sri Lankan Airlines are flying to Kathmandu as a new destination.
GMG Bangladesh Airlines said it would conduct flights on the Dhaka-Kathmandu route from October. According to Mr. Joy Dewan, managing director of Zenith Travels (P) Ltd. that represents GMG Bangladesh Airlines in Nepal, the airlines has plans to operate three flights a week from October 25, 2006.
Orient Thai Airlines, a budget airline from Thailand, and Air Arabia, a national budget airline of United Arab Emirates (UAE) have already forwarded the process to take permission from the Nepal Government in order to operate their flights.
Orient Thai wants to operate three flights a week on Bangkok-Kathmandu-Bangkok route. Similarly, Air Arabia has requested the government to allow it to operate seven flights a week on Sharjah-Kathmandu-Sarjah sector.
Likewise, Korean Air is planning to operate direct-chartered flights to Kathmandu from Incheon, South Korea from the second week of November this year. And Eithad Airways, the national airline of UAE, has received permission from the Nepal Government to operate four weekly flights on Abu Dhabi-Kathmandu-Abu Dhabi route.
Meanwhile, Sri Lankan Airlines is willing to fly to Kathmandu via New Delhi. The airline is likely to start its flights on this sector only after the renewal of air services agreement between Nepal and India.
Sweden lifts travel advisory against Nepal
The Government of Sweden has lifted the travel advisory against Nepal effective from September 7, 2006. It was stated in a letter sent to Nepalese Embassy- UK by Dr. Roland Dahlam, Consul General of Nepalese Consulate General in Sweden, according to a news report of the NTB Media Centre.
The lifting of travel advisory will allow the Swedish travellers to get travel insurance to visit Nepal. Travel insurance is very common among the Swedish population and will again be effective in connection with travel to Nepal, he said. Dr. Dahlman said that it would help to increase the number of visitors from Sweden to Nepal
‘Garden of Dreams' to open from Oct. 4
The Keshar Mahal Palace and Gardens, which is also known as the 'Garden of the Six Seasons' or the 'Garden of Dreams' will open to all fro October 4, 2006.
Located in the heart of Kathmandu, the palace represents one of the most prominent architectural examples of Nepal's Rana period.
The garden has been transformed by an Austrian architect into a garden of dreams with a restaurant and an amphitheatre.
Promoted by Nepal Tourism Board (NTB), the beautiful garden has been developed by Eco-Himal, an Austrian NGO.
Trekking Registration Certificate (TRC)
Trekking Agents Association of Nepal (TAAN) has been entrusted with the responsibility of issuing Trekking Registration Certificate (TRC) to foreign tourists interested to visit open trekking areas in the country. The new provision is going to be launched on World Tourism Day (September 27, 2006) and come into effect from October 1 this year.
The Nepal Government has decided to introduce TRC in order to control illegal operations in the Nepalese trekking industry and to ensure safety and security of the visiting trekkers.
tour operators were asked to sell Nepal more effectively in a more affective manner at a time when peace process has been taking a momentum in the country. The media people were also requested to disseminate information about the political changes that have taken place in Nepal in a positive light, according to Nepal Tourism Board.
Presenting his welcome speech, Charge‘d Affaires a.i., Mr. Dipendra P. Bista shed light on the recent positive political developments in Nepal. He also highlighted the agreement signed between the Seven Party Alliance (SPA) and the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) for the resolution of the decade-long internal conflict.
The programme was important in the sense that Mr. Alan Hinkes, the first Briton and 13th person to climb the world's all 14 highest mountains above 8000 metres, made his presentation. The world-famous climber said that the magnificent mountains and traditional culture and hospitality are attractions in Nepal. “Because of such attractions, I have been visiting the Himalayan country almost every year since my first visit in 1987,” he said.
Regarding the issue of safety and security, Mr. Alan said that Nepal is one of the few places where he can relax and enjoy the splendid beauty of the unique land.
On the occasion, the organisers and President FBNNTO, UK Raja, Mr. Ram Giri requested all participants to help promote Nepal more effectively.
Dhruba K.C., who is the founder President FBNNTO, highlighted the efforts of the association for Nepal’s tourism promotion in Britain.
Mr. Madan Thapa’s presentation of live music had made the gathering more interesting. About 150 travel and tour operators, representatives of airlines, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO), UK, Britain Nepal Chamber of Commerce and Britain Nepal Society, and renowned travel trade journals, national dailies, including Editor Daily Express, The Independent and Nepali Television UK.
TAAN welcomes Govt-Maoist pact
Trekking Agents Association of Nepal (TAAN) has welcomed the five-point understanding between the Nepal Government and the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) for the establishment of permanent peace in the country.
“The request made by the government and the CPN (Maoist) to the United Nations for carrying out the responsibility of monitoring of peace process reveals their strong commitment to peace and stability,” a press statement issued by TAAN states.
The umbrella organization of the trekking agencies is assured that the entire economic sector, especially the tourism industry, will get a boost with the peace process moving ahead in the right direction.
Sagarmatha Award for late Col. Roberts
The Government of Nepal has awarded the Sagarmatha Award to the late Lieutenant Colonel James O.M. Roberts in recognition of his pioneering role in the Nepalese trekking industry and outstanding promotion of mountain tourism in Nepal.
The reputed mountaineer and Gurkha officer had founded Nepal’s first trekking agency--the Mountain Travel Nepal, part of the Tiger Mountain Group.
The Sagarmatha Award is presented annually by the Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation, the Government of Nepal, to foreigners who have made significant contributions to Nepal’s development. The award carries a cash purse of Rs. 100,000.
According to a press statement issued by the Tiger Mountain Group, the amount will be divided equally between the World Pheasant Association “Jimmy Roberts Memorial Fund” and the Himalayan Trust.
The WPA supports the Pipar Pheasant Sanctuary in Macchapuchhre Village Development Committee (VDC) of Kaski district with innovative linkage of school development in return of conservation of the healthy pheasant populations in the community forest and upland grazing areas of the village.
The Himalaya Trust, founded by world-famous mountaineer Sir Edmund Hillary, provides education and health development in the Khumbu (Everest) Region of Nepal.
The Mountain Travel offered new economic opportunities to the Sherpa community through trekking tourism. By the end of his active climbing life, he had led more than 10 expeditions, served on countless others and pioneered the majority of present day trekking routes in Nepal.
Security beefed up at TIA
The Nepal Government has beefed up security at the country’s only international airport-- Tribhuvan International Airport (TIA)-- and tightened scrutiny of air passengers following the foiled terrorist attack plot in London.
TIA's Security Coordination Committee has restricted air passengers from carrying aerosols, gels, toiletries, liquid soap, mouthwash, shaving cream, toothpaste, perfume, among others, in their hand baggage.
TIA security has been asked to strictly monitor hand carried liquid items, according to a government official. Security has been issued with a directive to closely inspect the branded seals even of liquid items bought at duty-free shops, says a press statement issued by the Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal (CAAN).
TRC issuance procedure to be simple, practical
In a bid to collect suggestions and ideas from the member agencies about the implementation of Trekking Registration Certificate (TRC), Trekking Agents Association of Nepal (TAAN) organized an interaction programme in Kathmandu on July 24, 2006. TAAN officials and member agents were unanimous regarding the procedure of the implementation of TRC. They emphasized the need to adopt a simplified procedure for the issuance of TRC.
As demanded by TAAN, the Nepal Government has introduced the provision of TRC to help control various anomalies, including illegal operation. TRC is likely to come into effect from the last week of September this year. With the implementation of TRC, the visiting trekkers must go on trekking through the registered Nepalese trekking agencies and pay a small amount of money.
Addressing the meeting, President of TAAN Mr. Narendra B.C. said that TRC would help check illegal operation in the trekking business. “This will also ensure security of the trekkers, as TAAN will maintain a record system,” B.C. said.
He believed that the implementation of TRC would help maintain quality of the trekking business.
Mr. Deepak Mahat, Immediate Past President of TAAN, said that the suggestions of member agencies would be incorporated in the TRC action plan.
Mr. Mahat, who had been lobbying hard for the introduction of TRC, asked the member agencies to extend their necessary support and cooperation to TAAN for its effective implementation.
Speaking at the gathering, Mr. Phurba Gyalzen Sherpa, First Vice-President of TAAN, lauded the member agencies for their invaluable suggestions.
Extending his welcome address, Mr. Sitaram Sapkota, TAAN’s General Secretary, asked the member agencies to put up their ideas and suggestions regarding TRC to TAAN. Mr. Sapkota also stressed on the need for the member agencies to be serious and sincere while implementing TRC.
Similarly, Mr. Bashu Dev Parajuli, President of TAAN Western Regional Chapter Pokhara, pointed out the need for TRC and asked the member agencies to come up with strong commitment to check illegal operation. On the occasion, member agents Mr. Abir Malla, Mr. D. B. Koirala, Mr. Tilak Bahadur Lama, Mr. Santosh Gautam, Mr. Sagar Pandey, Mr. Govind Poudel, Mr. Tej Bahadur Bhatta, Mr. Nawaraj Marasini, among others, shared their ideas and views about challenges and opportunities of TRC implementation.
Meanwhile, a nine-member TRC implementation taskforce has been formed under the coordination of Mr. Deepak Mahat. Other members of the taskforce include Mr. Phurba Gyalzen Sherpa, Mr. Ganesh Neupane, Mr. Tilak Bahadur Lama, Mr. Mohan Lamsal, Mr. Nawaraj Pandey, Mr. Nawaraj Dahal, Mr. Bashu Dev Parajuli and Ms. Pampha Dhamala. The taskforce has been entrusted with the responsibility of preparing an action plan and carry out other necessary preparations for the implementation of TRC.