KATHMANDU, Sept 26: As an indication of the citizens' changing travel habits, more Nepalis are setting out for international tours in recent years, especially during the festivals and holidays. This has prompted Nepali travel and tour operators to come up with tour packages to international destinations, which they are designing in ways to make affordable and attractive for the Nepali people.
Targeting the country's biggest festive season of Dashain, Tihar and Chhath, which is just around the corner, travel agencies are rushing to develop and sell holiday packages. They are offering several short trip packages to destinations in Europe, Asia, and the Americas.
Ace Travels, a travel company based in Kathmandu has brought holiday packages for Thailand, combined package for Malaysia and Singapore, and combined package for Thailand, Malaysia and Singapore. It is also offering holiday packages for several European countries.
According to the company, most of the pre-bookings for Thailand tour are full. The company has offered five-day four-night Thailand package at the cost of Rs 53,300. The package includes Pattaya coral island tour, Pattaya and Bangkok city tours as well as other optional tours. Similarly, six-day five-night tour to Malaysia and Singapore costs Rs 86,600, and 10-day nine-night tour to Thailand, Malaysia and Singapore costs Rs 114,400. Dubai tour package costs Rs 69,900, weeklong tour to China costs Rs 128,800, and 12-day 11-night Europe tour costs Rs 319,900. All these are economy class tours that include air fare, (Photo courtesy: Peregrine Treks) accommodation and guided local transports.
Similarly, Kantipur Holidays is offering five-day four-night Dubai tour at the cost of Rs 64,999 that includes Dubai city tour, Dhow cruise dinner, desert safari, return airfare, and accommodation. A five-day four-night tour to Indonesia costs Rs 69,999, five-day four-night tour to Thailand costs Rs 39,999, and four-day three-night Malaysia tour costs Rs 49,999, while Malaysia and Singapore tour of five days and four nights costs Rs 74,999.
Likewise, President Travel & Tours has also brought holiday packages for Asian, European and American countries. According to the company, five-day four-night tour to Thailand costs Rs 50,000, while Dubai tour for the same time period costs Rs 90,000. At the same cost, one can go for Malaysia and Singapore tour. Meanwhile, the company's Europe tour begins with Rs 250,000.
Talking with Republica, Madhusudan Upadhyay, director of Ace Travels Pvt Ltd, said that more Nepalis are going for domestic and international tours after the earthquake hit the country in 2015.
"Not only outbound tours but domestic travels have also increased after the earthquake. The number of people going for tours is increasing significantly," he said, adding that the number of their customers is increasing every year. "The demand for Thailand tour is very high among Nepalis," he said.
"The demand for other countries such as Indonesia, Azerbaijan, Vietnam, Malaysia, and Sri Lanka are also increasing. There are few Nepalis who can afford to visit European countries as well. Especially family tour packages are being booked for European countries," he added.
Meanwhile, in an effort to encourage Nepali citizens to go for domestic tours, the Government of Nepal is promoting tourism within the country. With a slogan 'Pahile Desh ani Bidesh' (first the country, then abroad), Nepal Tourism Board (NTB) is promoting domestic destinations. Accordingly, the government has announced 100 domestic tour destinations this year.
"We are trying to encourage people not only to get together and have food with family this Dashain, but also take them on tour," said Sudhan Subedi, an official of the NTB."The NTB's 100 destinations are spread over all seven provinces of the country. It has made promotional videos for untouched local destinations. The NTB is currently providing training to home-stay operators as well," he added. "Our efforts have resulted in increasing number of domestic tourists, and we hope it to increase further."