In its bid to aggressively promote Nepal in the booming Chinese outbound tourism market, Nepal Tourism Board organized a Sales Mission in Chengdu, Shanghai and Beijing between March 19 and 27 , 2007 in a close association with Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation and Air China. Actively participated in by the private sector travel trade industry, the first session of the mission in Chengdu was enthusiastically attended by more than 110 tour operators and media persons. Nepal Tourism Board made the Naturally Nepal multimedia presentation and Air China briefed the tour operators and media about the new flight schedules between Chengdu and Kathmandu and officials from the Ministry, and NTB answered the queries raised by the journalists and tour operators. The tailor-made Business to Business (B2B) session was organised following the presentation where the Nepalese tour operators interacted with their Chinese counterparts for business promotion and negotiation.
The second leg of the mission was held in Shanghai where Nepal Tourism Board hosted an appreciation dinner in honor of the prominent journalists and tour operators who have been supporting Nepal and NTB since Nepal received Approved Destination Status in 2001. Further, NTB and the private sector participants attended the World Travel Fair 2007, the only outbound travel fair in the People's Republic of China. The fair was organized from 22 to 25 of March, 2007 and most of the ADS country showcased their tourism products and services for the aspirant Chinese travelers. Visit Pokhara Year 2007 and the new tourism brand of Nepal "Naturally Nepal-Once is not enough" were the major highlights of the Nepal stand at the WTF 2007.A large number of trade visitors and consumers visited the Nepal stand at the fair and gathered information on Nepal.
The third sitting of the mission was held in the capital city of Beijing which was attended by significantly large number of Nepal selling tour operators, media persons, writers and Nepal lovers. During the program the Nepalese and Chinese tour operators appreciated Mr. Rajaram Bartaula, First Secretary at the Nepalese Embassy in Beijing for his assurance of prompt service delivery and all necessary cooperation required for tourism promotion in China on the their part.
Similarly, NTB organized gathering of the tour operators and media in Guangzhou, the commercial and industrial hub of South China on 29 March, 2007. More than 120 tour operators and journalists attended the function. Business-to-Business session followed the presentation by NTB.
The concluding leg of the mission was held in Lhasa on 30, March 2007 where Nepal Tourism Board hosted an appreciation dinner in honor of the tour operators and media based in Lhasa, Tibet Autonomous Region. Representative of Nepalese Consulate in Lhasa, Mr. Bharat Regmi, Consul, was also present in that occasion.
Since China relaxed the restrictions of overseas traveling to its citizens in the late 1990s, the Chinese outbound tourism market is growing by leaps and bounds. The accelerating economic growth supported by the strong domestic demand and exports have created an ever increasing demand of overseas travels among the Chinese citizens. In 2006 alone more than 34 million Chinese traveled overseas.
Although in comparison to the other destinations Nepal is receiving only a few numbers of tourists from this enormous tourism market. Tourist arrival statistics from China to Nepal in February 2007 showed an astonishing increase of 281%, compared to the same month in 2006. Lack of air links at the desired level has been one of the severe bottlenecks in the past. However, the new direct air link between Kathmandu and Guangzhou by China Southern Airlines and increased flight frequency of Air China between Kathmandu and Chengdu have enhanced the air connectivity between Nepal and China. According to the Air China Officials, Air China will operate four flights a week form Chengdu to Kathmandu via Lhasa, effective from March 29, 2007.
The Nepal delegation is headed by Mr. Ram Prasad Ghimire, Under Secretary- Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation and comprised of Mr. Sagarmansingh Dangol, Under Secretary- Ministry of Finance, Mr. Kashi Raj Bhandari, Senior Officer-Nepal Tourism Board ,Mr. Jharendra Prasad Chapagain and Mr. Padam Narayan Shrestha, Section Officers - Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation,. Mr. Kishore Raj Pandey from Saathi Nepal Travels and Tours, Mr. Peter Ko from Arnkio Travels, Mr. Bishwesh Shrestha from C&K Nepal Travels and Mr. Mahadev Sharma from Peak Promotion Travels. B&B International, NTB's public relations representative in China is the coordinator of the Sales Mission.