Valli, Mingyang to attend Natta convention in KathmanduRenowned French photographer and film director Eric Valli and Chinese actor Mingyang Jiang have confirmed that they will be attending the 20th convention of the Nepal Association of Tour and Travel Agents
Renowned French photographer and film director Eric Valli and Chinese actor Mingyang Jiang have confirmed that they will be attending the 20th convention of the Nepal Association of Tour and Travel Agents (Natta) scheduled to be held in Kathmandu on September 25, Natta said Tuesday.
Valli, whose celebrated films include Honey Hunters of Nepal, about the Gurung honey hunters of west central Nepal, and Caravan, about a trading community in the Himalaya, has been conferred with the Natta Sagarmatha Award 2015. Caravan became the first Nepali film to be nominated for the Best Foreign Film Award at the 1999 Oscars.
Likewise, three dozen media representatives from 20 countries have confirmed their participation in the convention, Natta said. After Valli agreed to attend, a number of European journalists have expressed interest to visit Nepal. The theme of this year’s convention is Building Better Tourism with Renewed Strength. Similarly, Uday Nanayakkara, president of the Universal Federation of Travel Agents Association, will be the keynote speaker, according to Natta President DB Limbu.
“As Nepal has been receiving an increased number of Chinese adventure tourists, inviting celebrities will help promote the country in the aftermath of the April 25 earthquake,” he said. Nepal received 123,805 Chinese visitors in 2014, up 10 percent from the previous year.
The conference delegates will also be taken on a tour of Pokhara and Chitwan to show them that Nepal’s major tourist destinations have escaped the disaster.
“There has been a lot of negative perception regarding Nepal after the earthquake. Bringing celebrities and the media will help to give a clear picture of Nepal at a time when the country is struggling to revive the tourism industry,” said Hari Sarmah, CEO of Natta.
Although, four months have passed since the country was hit by the earthquake, the tourism scenario has not improved as it should have, he said. The ongoing political crisis over the federal set-up that emerged immediately after the earthquake has worried travel trade entrepreneurs. “We hope that the issue will be settled soon as it could paralyze the industry if strikes and other violent activities continue during the peak tourist season,” said Limbu.
The government has estimated that Nepal could lose up to 320,000 potential arrivals, or 40 percent of the total, this year as a result of the earthquake and its aftershocks which led to a mass departure of tourists and prompted many to change their travel plans. The country received nearly 800,000 tourists last year.
The sharp drop in arrivals is also likely to affect livelihoods in the mountainous region, particularly among the people who depend on tourism for their income.
Panel formed to mark World Tourism Day
The government has formed a 66-member main organizing committee to celebrate the 36th World Tourism Day (WTD) scheduled for September 27. The panel is chaired by Tourism Minister Kripasur Sherpa. This year’s WTD is being organized under the theme One Billion Tourists, One Billion Opportunities. The United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) has launched this year’s WTD campaign, highlighting the transformative potential of one billion tourists. The event aims to raise awareness among the international community of the importance of tourism and its social, cultural, political and economic values.
The UNWTO has invited people to “showcase the power of the travel and tourism sector” by using the hashtags #1billiontourists and #WTD2015 on social media.