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Malindo Air begins Kathmandu flights

Malaysia-based Malindo Air officially launched its Kathmandu-Kuala Lumpur service. The flight will be operated daily on Boeing 737-900ER aircraft, with the flight departing Kuala Lumpur at 6:55 pm and arriving at Tribhuvan International Airport at 9:30 pm local time, according to a Malindo statement. The return flight departs Kathmandu at 10:20 pm and touches down in Kualalumpur at 5:20 am local time.

The company's fleet has been growing leaps and bounds to 11 ATR72- 600 and eight Boeing 737s within 18 months of operation. Currently, the airline operates over 800 flight s weekly across a continuously growing network of close to 40 routes in the ASEAN region.

Sichuan Airlines Okayed to fly to Kathmandu

Chinese carrier Sichuan Airlines has been granted permission to operate flights to Nepal. It will be the fourth airline from the northern neighbor to serve Kathmandu when it begin flights in March. Sichuan Airlines will be operating a daily service on the Chengdu-Lhasa- Kathmandu sector from its base in Chengdu. It possesses an all-Airbus fleet of 93 aircraft. At present, Air China and China Eastern operate daily scheduled flights to Nepal, while China Southern operates double daily flights.

China Exim Bank Okays loan to build new Pokhara airport

China Exim Bank has 'agreed' to extend a $215.96 million soft loan to the government to build the Pokhara Regional International Airport, officials at the Finance Ministry said. The ministry had asked the Chinese bank for funding last November after the Cabinet gave the go-ahead to construct the much-delayed project on October 27. The proposed airport will be built at Chinnedanda, 3 km east of the existing domestic airport in the lakeside city.

3 New Paragliding Companies Open in Pokhara

Three new paragliding companies have started operation in the city of Pokhara. With the addition of new companies, the number of paragliding companies operating in Pokhara has reached, according to Nepal Air Sports Association (NASA). Hanuman Paragliding, 360 Paragliding and Open Sky Paragliding are the new companies that recently started services in Pokhara. Tourism entrepreneurs say that the number of paragliding companies in Pokhara has increased as the lake city is seeing rise in the number of tourists looking for adventure tourism activities. As the Sarangkot the most popular destination for paragliding flights in Pokhara is already crowded, the Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation (MOCTCA) has assigned Toripani and Mandredhunga as the take-off sites for the new companies.

Silver Heritage starts casino at Shangri La

Silver Heritage Limited (SHL) has started operating The Millionaire's Club & Casino at Shangri La Hotel in Lazimpat, Kathmandu . "The Company has been looking to invest in the Nepali tourism and recreation industry since 2011 and we are confident the Kathmandu development represents a huge opportunity given its proximity to India and China's massive and growing middle class and Nepal's cultural affinity with its Southern neighbour," SHL CEO Mike Bolsover said in a statement. The casino is primarily aimed at providing expanded gaming opportunities for customers from the growing Indian, Chinese and Bangladeshi markets, and also services the expatriate community living in Nepal.

Record USD 73.2M earned from international tourist arrivals
Bhutan observed more than double increase in the number of dollar-paying footfall. The 29 % increase in international or dollar paying tourist arrivals last year against the previous year, earned the industry revenue of USD 73.2 million (M), the highest so far.

Since 2009, the tourism sector recorded a steady increase in revenue from dollar-paying tourists, along with the increase in visitors, annually, a recent Royal Monetary Authority bulletin shows. Tourism earnings in 2010 stood at USD 35M that increased to USD 47.7M and USD 62.8M in the following years. In 2013, tourism earnings stood at USD 63.5M. Similarly from 23,480 international tourists in 2009, arrivals increased to 58,022 last year, the bulletin states. The international tourists pay a daily minimum tariff of USD 250 and USD 200 during the peak and lean seasons respectively. Tourism Council of Bhutan (TCB) officials attributed the increase in revenue mainly to the increase in arrivals, while tour operators said the dollar exchange rate also attributed to it.

"The exchange rate determines how much money the tourism sector makes," a tour operator said. "The resilient exchange rate in the recent years helped the sector."

The Chorten Kora Festival
The Chorten Kora Festival is one of the most popular festivals in eastern Bhutan. 'Kora' means circumambulation. The biggest activity of the festival is circumambulating the Chorten Kora. It also attracts people from the neighboring Indian state of Arunachal Pradesh. It brings out colorful aspects of Bhutanese culture such as mask dances, the rich textiles and brocades worn by the locals and the triumphant atmosphere of the festival itself.

Gasa Tshechu
26-03-2015 to 29-03-2015
Venue: Khatey, Gasa Dzong, Gasa
The Gasa festival (tshechu) is the biggest festival in the small district of Gasa in northwest Bhutan. Gasa is home to highlander communities. While many mask dances are performed, the local folk dances performed are very unique and distinct adding to the festive mood of the celebration.