News from Nepal and Bhutan
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Deepak Raj Joshi appointed CEO of Nepal Tourism Board

Nepal Tourism Board (NTB) has appointed a new Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Mr. Deepak Raj Joshi. He will lead the country's National Tourism Organization for four years. A selected committee had recommended the name of Joshi, Gyanendra Ratna Tuladhar and Gyanswor Lal Mahato for the position on the basis of their presentation and interview. According to the Chairman of NTB, Joshi was selected based on the recommendations of the selection committee. He stood out among 12 other candidates by scoring 69.5 marks. Joshi, an MBA graduate, has one-and-a-half decade long experience of working at NTB, and is currently serving as senior officer there. It is reported that Joshi will assume office after resigning from his current position and serve as executive head for the next four years.

National Geographic picks Nepal among 'Cool List' for 2016

The National Geographic Traveller has released its 'Cool List' for 2016 and has placed Nepal in the sixth spots among the roundup of 16 cool locations. The UK-based magazine describes Nepal as "Tourist numbers to Nepal plummeted by 85 percent after the devastating earthquakes, but the country is once more open for business and safe to visit, with a new government-backed website providing official updates on affected areas. This is a nation that long relied heavily on tourism, with many visitors lured by the chance to combine volunteerism with an adventure holiday in a stunning landscape."

Visa Fee Waive for Chinese Tourists

In a bid to boost arrivals from the north, the Cabinet on Friday decided to waive the fee for Chinese visitors – a facility enjoyed only by visitors from SAARC countries so far. The Chinese government also lifted travel advisories to its citizens travelling to Nepal with immediate effect. The advisory was issued by the Chinese consular service network in the context of earthquake in Nepal. "This marks the tour normalization for Chinese citizens in Nepal." read a Chinese Foreign Ministry statement. In February last year, Nepal and China signed a revised bilateral air services agreement (ASA), permitting the operation of 56 flights per week. Favourite place in Nepal for the Chinese are Kathmandu, Pokhara, Jomsom and Muktinath. They are also shifting towards soft adventure sports like trekking, paragliding and rafting of late.

422 black-necked cranes arrive in Bhutan

Starting early November till date, a total of 422 black-necked cranes (grusnigricollis) have arrived at their winter grounds in Bhutan. At 340, Phobjikha has recorded the highest number cranes, the black-necked crane visitor centre's manager, Santa Lal Gajmer said. In Bumdeling, 60 cranes have arrived. "More cranes are expected because last year it kept flying in until December end," Bumdeling wildlife sanctuary forester, Tshering Chophel said.

This time Khotokha has received 14 cranes, six more than what it received last year. "There are 10 in Khotokha and four are roosting about five kilometres further down in Shelay," Rubesagup, Gyeltshen said.

Although more are expected, only five cranes have arrived in Gyetsa against the 22 that flew in last year.

Last year, 544 cranes flew to Bhutan.

Druk Wangyal Tshechu : 13th Dec

Druk Wangyel Tsechu was celebrated on December 13th, 2015. The Druk Wangyel Tshechu is a unique festival performed by the Royal Bhutan Army rather than monks or lay people. It is a tribute to the wise leadership of His Majesty Jigme Singye Wangchuck, the Fourth King of Bhutan. It also celebrates the continuous efforts of the Royal Bhutan Army in protecting the sovereignty and the stability of the country. This one of a kind tshechu is performed against the backdrop of the magnificent Jigme Singye Wangchuck mountain range.

National Day Celebrations : 17th Dec 2015

The National Day of Bhutan was celebrated on 17th December in Paro. It was celebrated in Ugyenpelri palace, His Majesty the 4th King, His Majesty the 5th King , Queen Jetsun Pema and all the members of the Royal Family were present during the celebrations. National Day in Bhutan is celebrated to commemorate the coronation of the first Druk Gyalpo (Dragon King) of modern Bhutan. Bhutan's most significant National holiday is widely celebrated throughout the country.

The Druk Gyalpo is the official title of the head of state of Bhutan, it is translated from the Dzongkha language as "Dragon King". Modern Bhutanese monarchy was established in 1907 by the Wangchuk family. Ugyen Wangchuk reunified the country and was unanimously chosen as the hereditary monarch of Bhutan. His coronation took place on December 17, 1907.