Sunday, February 17, 2013

Government asks ministry to form a team to revise ASA with China

The government has asked Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation to workout revision modality of Air Service Agreement (ASA) with the northern neighbour China.
The cabinet meeting yesterday evening has asked the ministry to form a team under tourism secretary to revise the ASA with China, one of the key tourist generating markets, in the recent years.
According to the current Air Service Agreement (ASA) between Nepal and China, China can operate 14 flights a week. Air China operates seven flights whereas China Eastern and China Southern operate four flights and three flights, respectively in a week leaving room for more flights between two nations. But a Chinese delegation last year had asked to add 10 more flights weekly.
China has been asking Nepal to revise the ASA that could add sufficient air flights to Nepal to attract a large number of Chinese tourists, who are compelled to choose an alternative destination for their holidays due to lack of sufficient air connectivity between the two countries.
Due to the rapid economic growth of the China, the number of Chinese outbound tourists has been increasing lately. It is expected to reach 100 million by 2015.
The Chinese government has given Nepal an 'Approved Destination Status’ for outbound tourists. Nepal has also been listed by the Chinese government as the ninth outbound tourist destination.
Likewise, proposals to revise and sign new ASAs with different countries — Australia, the US, Cambodia, Indonesia, Russia, Saudi Arabia and the UK — have been piling up at the ministry.
Nepal has signed bilateral air service agreements with 36 countries since 1963. This provides 5.7 million seats per annum to and from Nepal. However, not even 40 per cent of this capacity is being utilised.

Chinese arrivals
Year — arrivals
2009 — 32,272
2010 — 46,360
2011 — 61,917
(Source: Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation)

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