The 44th annual general meeting of Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA) Nepal Chapter with the theme ‘Nepal: Celebrating Gastronomical Mastery Beyond Himalayas!’ concluded successfully on March 5, 2021 at Park Village Resort, Budhanilkantha, Kathmandu, with special contribution from Park Village Resort (Hospitality Partner), Turkish Airlines (Airline Partner), and IClean Technology (Hygiene Partner).
PATA Nepal Chapter had invited Nepali celebrity chef, Santosh Shah, to Nepal as the keynote speaker for the 44th AGM in honour and recognition of his invaluable support for Nepal’s tourism promotion amidst the unprecedented challenges and adverse scenario for tourism promotion in the year 2020. Chef Shah had glorified Nepali cuisine in all its authenticity, introducing the judges, food critics, and esteemed chefs to flavours and ingredients they had never experienced before in the UK’s most prestigious cookery competition – MasterChef: The Professionals 2020!
Addressing the gathering, Shah urged the tourism fraternity of Nepal to emphasise on two major segments of tourism services – Hygienic Food and Quality Accommodation – with utmost priority to cleanliness and sanitisation in order to win the trust and confidence of travellers in the post-pandemic scenario, as well as to present Nepal as a promising destination for culture and cuisine beyond the Himalayas!
During the formal function and award presentation ceremony, PATA felicitated four PATA Nepal Featured Awards:
Lifetime Achievement Award
PATA Nepal Chapter rewarded Dipendra Purush Dhakal, Former Secretary of Ministry of Tourism of Nepal, with the PATA Lifetime Achievement Award 2021 in recognition and honour to his outstanding contribution, guidance, continued mentorship, and invaluable support to the association, and his exceptional and exemplary leadership roles for the promotion, development, and expansion of Nepal's Tourism Sector.
Tourism Trail Blazer Award
PATA Nepal Chapter, introduced the first-ever ‘Tourism Trail Blazer Award’ and rewarded this to the CEO of PATA International, Dr Mario Hardy in recognition of his exceptional leadership roles and outstanding initiatives over the years to promote sustainable and responsible tourism development of the Asia Pacific Travel and Tourism Industry in his capacity as the chief executive officer of PATA.
Besides, his contribution and guidance to the global tourism industry to cope with the COVID-19 crisis, facilitating tools and resources through PATA Crisis Resource Centre, and inspiring global tourism stakeholders in public and private sectors for the rapid, robust, and responsible recovery of the tourism industry are remarkable and highly commendable! Nepal as a destination has tremendously benefited from his constant mentoring, visits and support particularly to overcome post-earthquake and post-pandemic recovery initiatives.
Best Student Chapter of the Year 2020
The ‘Best Student Chapter of the year 2020’ was awarded to Silver Mountain School of Hotel Management (SMSHM) in recognition of their dedication and contribution in engaging with the initiatives of PATA Nepal Chapter and best illustrating the activities, programmes, and events in line with the aims and objectives of PATA Nepal Student Chapter.
Personality of the Year 2020
The ‘PATA Personality of the Year 2020 Award’ was awarded to Chef Santosh Shah in recognition of his valuable contribution and commendable roles in promoting Nepali cuisine, and in honour of his dedication and passion for uplifting Nepal’s tourism sector through diverse culture and cuisine.
Chairman, Bibhuti Chand Thakur during his welcome remarks emphasised the Top 10 Immediate Actions/ Priorities of the hour that Nepal as a destination must address to ensure its better preparedness and restart tourism towards the rapid, robust and responsible recovery of tourism. These include; Waiving off of the Mandatory Quarantine, Upon Arrival Visa and PCR Tests, Easing Entry for the Vaccinated Travelers, Training, and Retraining to Human Capitals with New Normal Protocols / Changing Dynamics, Vaccine to Tourism Service Providers (Front-line workers), Compliance with Safety Protocols in Service; backed with Monitoring and Controlling Mechanism, Massive Awareness and Training Programmes on HHS throughout the nation, Enhancing Collaboration and Partnership, SMART Marketing Approaches, etc. He also shed light upon the PATA Nepal Chapter’s Priority Action and Initiatives for the year 2021 and invited the entire tourism fraternity to work together unitedly more than ever to build-back-better the tourism industry.
Nepal Tourism Board CEO, Dr Dhananjay Regmi, extended congratulations to all well-deserving awardees and thanked them for their valuable roles and achievements. He said that NTB is dedicated to working together with private sectors in every aspect of tourism recovery, promotion and development.
Secretary of the Ministry of Culture, Tourism, and Civil Aviation, Yadav Prasad Koirala, praised the positive and unconditional contribution of PATA in the promotion of Nepal's tourism sector over the years in bringing international tourists is remarkable and highly commendable. He assured that the ministry will facilitate the necessary support for the initiatives and events by PATA Nepal in the mission of tourism recovery and other sustainable tourism development initiatives in the country.
Chief Guest, Bhanu Bhakta Dhakal, Minister for Culture, Tourism, and Civil Aviation, commended PATA Nepal Chapter's efforts, engagement, and advocacy roles despite the limited resources are exceptional and inspiring; remaining apolitical and uncontroversial association over the years. He assured to address the key concerns raised by the association as top priority action of the hour, easing the restrictions to revitalise tourism very soon. The minister further emphasised the government's success in intensifying the vaccination process against COVID-19 and bringing two rebel groups (CK Raut and Biplav groups) into mainstream politics which would be encouraging news to tourism professionals to position Nepal as a safe and peaceful destination! Besides, he asked PATA Nepal Chapter to present strategic planning regarding the product diversification and international marketing of tourism, for which the Ministry of Tourism is ready to collaborate and facilitate needful support ahead.