January 16 , 2015
A delegation of Trekking Agencies' Association of Nepal participated in the Sikkim Association of Adventure Tour Operators (SAATO) Convention held in Namchi of Sikkim on January 13 and 14.
TAAN President Ramesh Prasad Dhamala led the 17-member delegation, including executive committee members, general members, and media persons among others, to the convention.
Chief Minister of Sikkim Dr Pawan Chamling inaugurated the convention amid a colorful ceremony on January 13. Speaking at the program, he emphasized on regional tourism to promote tourism in North East Indian states.
Along with Nepal, delegates from Bhutan, France and Germany and Bhutan as well as other Indian states participated in the convention.
Addressing the technical session of the convention on January 13, TAAN President Dhamala said Sikkim could be a fabulous tourist destination for Nepalis. "Though tourism is at its beginning Sikkim compared to Nepal, the state has lot more to offer to tourists," he said. "We have seen lots of government investment infrastructure development here. This is something that Nepal should learn from Sikkim."
He also said Sikkim holds great prospects for tourism development if the local government moved ahead by conducting strength, weakness, opportunity and threat analysis. "Sikkim is promoting itself as 'Green Sikkim' and 'Organic Zone'. Nepal should learn from promotional gimmicks like these," he added.
He also gave a brief introduction of TAAN and apprised the participants of the convention of the objectives, programs, and activities being carried out by it for the promotion of trekking and adventure tourism in Nepal and international arena.
He also suggested to tour operators of Sikkim for floating specialized tour packages for Nepalis who are visiting foreign destinations for holidaymaking in large numbers in recent years. A sizeable number of Nepalis have been visiting Sikkim in recent years.
Tourism relations between Nepal and Sikkim date back to many decades. Trekking agencies and tour operators have been sending third country tourists to Sikkim for the past many years. Sikkim is the only Indian state that borders China, Nepal and Bhutan. Mt Kanchanjunga (8,586m), the third highest mountain in the world, lies on the border of Nepal and Sikkim. However, the Sikkim government has banned mountaineering expeditions on the mountain. The Sikkim government has unveiled plans to promote Sikkim as the only 'fully organic' state in India.
Along with TAAN, Nepal Mountaineering Association (NMA) and Nepal Association of Tour and Travel Agents (NATTA) have also sent their respective delegations to the SAATO Convention.