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Nepal Hosts Five-day Chitwan Elephant Festival to Revive Dwindling Tourism Industry

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Representational image. Pixabay

December 27, 2016: The 13th edition of Nepal’s five-day Chitwan Elephant Festival kicked off here with the participation of over 50 elephants.

The annual festival which brings fun, sports and adventure together was inaugurated on Monday in Sauraha, the gateway to Chitwan National Park, Xinhua news agency reported on Tuesday.

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The festival would feature unique and spectacular games like polo, football, fast-walk, beauty contest, picnic among others elephant participation.

The annual event has been organised by Regional Hotel Association Chitwan in order to bring humans closer with elephants, to encourage wildlife protection and conservation and to promote tourism in the region.

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Inaugurating the fiesta, Nepalese Minister for Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation Jeevan Bahadur Shahi said that these sorts of festivals play an important role in attracting foreign tourists.

“Chitwan is a pioneer hub for elephant adventures but still lack tourists as compared to other parts of the country.

“We need to attract more tourists from our neighbouring countries to boost the overall tourism industry,” Shahi said.

The tourism industry in Nepal was adversely affected by the devastating earthquake in 2015, he said.

“If we could invite just one per cent of population from the neighbouring countries India and China, it would be a big achievement for Nepal”, Shahi added.

Chitwan is the third popular tourism destination in the Himalayan country after the capital city Kathmandu and lake city Pokhara.

Though the region used to welcome nearly 200,000 tourists in a single year, the number has dropped to less than half after the disaster of 2015.

This year, the festival has introduced elephant polo for the first time in its history, which is expected to draw huge number of foreign and domestic tourists.

Elephant polo is often regarded as the most adventurous and rare activity in the world.

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Besides, the festival has also featured cultural and entertainment programs along with boat and cart riding competition.

The five-day event will end on Friday. (IANS)

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Nepalese Government Concludes its Clean-up Drive on the Mount Everest with 11 Tonnes of Trash

Each expedition team has to deposit $4,000, which are refunded if each climber returns with the 8 kg of waste

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Nepal
This photograph taken from a helicopter shows an aerial view of Mount Everest in Nepal's Solukhumbu district, some 140 kilometers (87 miles) northeast of Kathmandu, on Nov. 22, 2018. VOA

The Nepalese government on Monday concluded its clean-up drive of the Mount Everest and said it had collected nearly 11 tonnes of trash that had piled up on the peak for decades.

The clean-up initiative, the first of its kind since Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay Sherpa conquered the summit 66 years ago, was launched in mid-April and involved an elite team of 12 high-altitude Sherpa climbers who spent over a month collecting the waste.

“Along with the rubbish, they also collected four dead bodies from the high camps of Mount Everest that were brought to Kathmandu last week,” Dandu Raj Ghimire, the Director-General of Nepal’s Tourism Department, told Efe news.

According to Ghimire, the clean-up campaign cost nearly 23 million rupees (some $207,000). He added that China had also launched a similar drive to clean the north side of the world’s highest mountain.

“There are big environmental concerns and criticism from the international community that Nepal has not shown seriousness to maintain the beauty of the iconic peak,” he added, while vowing that the government would continue to clear the human residues left on Mount Everest.

Ang Dorje Sherpa, the Chairman of the Sagarmatha Pollution Control Committee (SPCC), said around seven tonnes of waste had been collected from the Everest Base Camp and the high camps.

The other four tonnes were removed from the villages of Lukla and Namche Bazar, both of which are considered the gateway to Everest.

Hundreds of foreign mountaineers spend thousands of dollars to conquer the peak every spring season, which normally begins in early April and lasts until May. As they go on the dangerous climb, they leave behind a trail of litter.

FILE – Mount Everest, the highest peak in the world, is seen in this aerial view March 25, 2008. VOA

Various stakeholders, including the Tourism Ministry, the Nepali Army, the Nepal Mountaineering Association, the Nepal Tourism Board, the Sagarmatha National Park, the SPCC and the local government have joined hands for this clean-up campaign.

In recent times, Everest has often earned the moniker of the world’s highest garbage dump.

Several tonnes of old equipment, oxygen cylinders, rubbish and human waste litter the famous mountain.

The government collects more than $3.55 million per year in revenue by issuing permits for climbers, but little had been spent so far to keep the ecosystem clean.

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In 2014, the government introduced a rule forcing each member of an expedition to bring back at least 8 kg of collected garbage, in addition to the trash they generate themselves.

Each expedition team has to deposit $4,000, which are refunded if each climber returns with the 8 kg of waste.

The deposit is refunded only if the SPCC certifies that they have taken all their trash back down. But many commercial expeditions still end up leaving trash scattered among the gelid snow. (IANS)