Keeping Visit Nepal Year 2020 at the helm of affairs, the third edition of Himalayan Travel Mart (HTM) 2019 concluded in Kathmandu with its theme in focus, Spirits of the Himalayas.
Himalayan Travel Mart (HTM) is Nepal’s premier international travel and tourism trade show facilitating networking and business opportunities and industry insights among the global tourism and hospitality organisations, and individuals engaged in different aspects of tourism in the Himalayan region. This conference cum business to business (B2B) mart offers a platform for tourism marketing and promotion availing the gathering of global buyers, Himalayan sellers, travel bloggers, influencers, national and international media, travel industry professionals and delegates from around the world. Organised by the Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA) Nepal Chapter, the event witnessed participation of over 700 delegates from 43 different countries, including more than 150 international delegates and national stakeholders. The Prime Minister of Nepal, K P Sharma Oli inaugurated the show expecting to receive more quality tourists which will honour the mountain and its people and at the same time, strengthen Nepal’s status in the global tourism map.
“In the foreground of many economic activities, Nepal has embraced tourism as the most sustainable economic sector having huge potentials for generating foreign exchange earnings, employment as well as helping to develop the rural community. HTM is an important platform to orient all our endeavours towards the greater aim of branding Nepal in the international arena as a Gateway to the Himalayas establishing the country as the most happening tourism destination in the region,” commented Mohan Krishna Sapkota, Secretary, Ministry of Culture, Tourism & Civil Aviation, Government of Nepal.
The conference segment brought together international tourism experts, hospitality professionals, influencers, renowned adventurers, great personalities and a dynamic line up of national and international thought leaders amongst buyers, sellers, media professionals, delegates and industry stakeholders involving discussions and sharing unparalleled insights on the contemporary issues, trends, challenges and opportunities for the development of Himalayan tourism.
“This year’s conference under the theme “Spirit of the Himalayas” was held to inspire the audience to understand both the tangible and intangible spirits of the Himalayas unveiling its diverse tourism offerings and potentials. Other than mountains and adventures, this year HTM introduced the prospective aspects of spiritual tourism in Nepal along with the Himalayan region,” added Suresh Singh Budal, the Chief Executive Officer of PATA Nepal Chapter.
The exhibition segment hosted some of the prospective buyers from around the globe and the sellers/exhibitors with extreme product diversification from Himalayan tourism industry including Nepal, India, Thailand, Pakistan, Bhutan and Tibet facilitating them the opportunity to establish, strengthen or expand their business partnerships.
The fourth edition of the Himalayan Travel Mart will be held between June 12 and 15 in 2020. The four-day event will be organised and executed by PATA Nepal Chapter in collaboration with the Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation, Government of Nepal; Nepal Tourism Board; PATA Headquarter; Nepal Airlines Corporation and other prominent tourism organisations of Nepal.
The event comes at a time when Nepal is marking 2020 as Visit Nepal Year (VNY) with a target of welcoming two million foreign tourists and a daily spend of over $75. In 2018, Nepal received 1.1 million foreign tourists among which China and India were the biggest tourism source markets.
“At the inaugural stages of the long-envisaged Visit Nepal Year 2020, an international event like Himalayan Travel Mart will undoubtedly make a big buzz in the global market to support our campaign and will be an effective platform for Nepal’s tourism entrepreneurs to unleash the cultural and natural beauty of Nepal and enhance their businesses and network, said Deepak Raj Joshi, the Chief Executive Officer of Nepal Tourism Board.
VNY 2020 is positioned as a Lifetime Experience in a bid to position Nepal as one of the world’s most unique experiential and lifetime value destination. An implementation subcommittee of experts from various backgrounds will supervise the VNY 2020 Strategic Action Plan that encompasses a range of initiatives that include creating 20 Lifetime Experiences, having a three-member women’s team from Nepal, India and China summit Mount Everest as a message of collaboration and goodwill, organising of the Nepal Tourism Excellence Awards and Nepal tourism Investment Summit, initiating Kathmandu Valley by Night, appointing figures of global influence as Goodwill Ambassadors, supplementing and reinforcing the Brand Building and Destination Marketing activities of the Nepal tourism Bard with digital innovation and creativity at its heart, building Namaste Tourist Information Centres, launching a domestic campaign to create ownership of VNY2020 among all citizens showcasing tourism as national pride, installing larger than life Yeti sculptures as public art painted by celebrated national and international artists, opening of the Gautama Buddha Airport, organising an aerial sports competition, highest altitude musical concert on earth, building on environmental and cultural sustainability among others.
“I view VNY 2020 as not another tourism campaign, but as a country development strategy which must be given due focus collaboratively from the government, private and civic sectors,” concluded Suraj Vaidya, the National Coordinator of Visit Nepal Year 2020.