China's Tibet, Nepal to promote Himalaya tourism

created: 2010-07-19

Northwest China's Tibet Autonomous Region will work closely with Nepal to boost the tourism industry in the Himalayan region, officials said Friday.

"To start with, we'll jointly launch day tours along the China-Nepal border," said Wang Songping, deputy chief of Tibet's tourism administration, at "Welcome to Nepal," a briefing on Nepal tourism in Lhasa.

Wang and his Nepalese counterparts are also exploring a cross-Himalayan route passing Kathmandu, in Nepal, and Tibet's Jilung and Zham.

"Travel services in China and Nepal are encouraged to work closely to draw more tourists to the Himalayan region and promote package tours in the two countries," he said.

Nepal had simplified visa procedures for Chinese tourists. Chinese passport holders who took the direct bus service to Nepal could get visas at land ports in Tibet, said Wang.

China's three leading airline companies - China Eastern, China Southern and Air China - all operate passenger flights to Nepal.

Chinese tourist arrivals in Nepal had been growing by 20 percent annually since Nepal became a tourist destination for Chinese citizens in 2001, Wang said.

Last year, Nepal received 15,000 Chinese tourists, said Naindra Upadhaya, consul general of Nepal in Tibet.

Large numbers of international tourists also visited Tibet by way of Nepal, he said.

Upadhaya said his country would launch "Nepal Tourism Year" in 2011, a national tourism campaign expected to draw a million international tourists. "We hope 100,000 of them will be Chinese."

Tourism authorities in Nepal and Tibet signed a memorandum of understanding on tourism promotion in 2003 and established a joint coordination committee.

To date, the committee has held three meetings. The fourth will be held in Lhasa in September.

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