KATHMANDU, July 25: Efforts are being made to connect Pokhara with foreign cities through direct air services. Tourism entrepreneurs have started discussions to start direct flights not only to Indian cities but also to Dhaka-- the capital city of Bangladesh-- from Pokhara.
Discussions have been held between the representatives of Nepal Association of Tour and Travel Agents (NATTA), Gandaki chapter, Biman Bangladesh and Pokhara-based tourism entrepreneurs. At present, there are direct flights from Pokhara to various cities in Nepal. Tourism entrepreneurs have been pointing out the need to connect Pokhara not only with local cities but also with foreign cities.
“A regional international airport is being built in Pokhara. That is why we now have to start direct air service from Pokhara to Dhaka and other foreign cities,” said Gopi Bahadur Bhattarai, chairman of the Pokhara Tourism Council. “Bringing only 10 percent of tourists from Bangladesh would promote tourism massively.”
Tourism entrepreneurs have been conducting campaigns in the international market every year to promote tourism in Pokhara. A 'Chalo Pokhara' campaign has been launched in Indian cities. Business to business programs are also being operated in other Asian cities.
Asisur Rehman, country manager of Biman Bangladesh, said that direct flights between Dhaka and Pokhara will be effective as soon as the regional international airport comes into operation in Pokhara. According to him, Bangladeshis are attracted to the beauty of Pokhara. Currently, there is only one daily flight from Dhaka to Kathmandu. Entrepreneurs have also suggested adding more flights to Dhaka.
Chairman of NATTA, Gandaki Chapter, Sanjay Kant Sigdel expressed commitment to take necessary initiative with the Government of Nepal to operate the flights from the destination. Bikal Tulachan, president of the Western Regional Hotel Association, said that about 50,000 Bangladeshis visit Nepal every year and about 20,000 visit Pokhara. Entrepreneurs say that the attraction of Bangladeshis in Pokhara has been increasing lately.
The tourism entrepreneurs are emphasizing on the need to make the COVID-ridden tourism sector operational by providing vaccines as soon as possible. Tourism entrepreneurs have also insisted that vaccination is mandatory for tourist activities along with tourism promotion. 'No vaccine, no tourism' is the slogan of tourism entrepreneurs.