PATA Nepal Chapter elects New Executive Committee at 45th AGM

Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA) Nepal Chapter successfully concluded its 45th Annual General Meeting on 6th June 2024 at Park Village Resort under the theme “Nepal Tourism 2.0: Charting the Future Course.”

The AGM unanimously appointed the new Executive Committee, with Khem Raj Lakai, CEO of the Global Academy of Tourism & Hospitality Education (GATE), as Chairman. He succeeds Bibhuti Chand Thakur, who was elected Chairman on December 18, 2019, and remains in the Executive Committee as the Immediate Past Chairman.

Lakai expressed, “I am deeply honoured and humbled by this opportunity. It is with profound gratitude and a great sense of responsibility that I step into the role of chairman of PATA. Being entrusted with the legacy of this esteemed institution is a privilege. My association with PATA spans several years, be it as a board of trustee of the PATA Foundation, or PATA HQ elected Board member, including extensive service within the PATA Nepal Chapter. I am delighted to announce that the PATA Nepal Chapter is celebrating its 49th anniversary.”

“I want to honor the memory of our founding father, the late Prabahakar SJB Rana, who brought this wonderful organization to Nepal and continuously nurtured by amazing leaders of our industry. His vision of connecting Nepal to the world now rests on our shoulders. Unity is crucial for Nepal in all spectrum of professions, and we cannot afford to delay. Once united, we can transform the narrative of our beautiful nation and inspire the world. On behalf of the new executive committee, I pledge to the entire tourism community to join forces and realize our shared dream through tourism,” he added.

Accordingly, the AGM elected General Secretary – Narendra dev Bhatta (Managing Director – Heritage Tours & Travel), Hon. Treasurer –Reetal Rana (Managing Director – Mid Valley International College). Other Executive Members include Lakhpa Phuti Sherpa (Founder – Luxury DMC Travel), Rupesh Joshi (Director –Buddha Air), Binod Adhikari (Director – Aarya village Travels), Sunil Bahadur Bhattrai (Executive Director – Busy Bee Cafe), Himmat Puri (Director – Destinago Tours & Travel), Sarita Lama (MD – Off The wall Trekking) and Tenzing Peyang Lama (Director – Hotel Lhasa International (Dusit Princess Kathmandu). During the AGM, PATA Nepal Chapter also elected 4 Proxy Members to its Executive Committee including Smritee Kala Pant (Head of BHM/BHTM- Little Angels’ College of Management), Prakash Chandra Lohani (Chairman-Alpine Rescue Service), Suman Ghimire (Executive Director-Jungle Safari lodge), and Imu Regmi (Director –Basera Boutique Hotel).

The Executive Committee also comprises 4 Ex officio members including Director General – Department of Tourism, Director General – Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal), Corporate Director – Nepal Airlines, and Representative of Nepal Tourism Board.

During the Formal Function and Annual Award Presentation Ceremony in the evening of the AGM, PATA Nepal Chapter awarded Ambica Shrestha (President of Dwarika’s Hotels & Resorts) and Shyam Bahadur Pandey (Founder of Hotel Shangrila) with the prestigious “PATA Lifetime Achievement Award 2024”.

This recognition honors their devoted years of exceptional voluntary service, leadership, significant contributions, and invaluable dedication to the association and the tourism and hospitality industry in Nepal.

Lakpa Sonam Sherpa (Chairman of Yeti Group) has been rewarded with “PATA Tourism Trailblazer Award 2024” for his exceptional leadership, pioneering initiatives, and outstanding contributions to promoting, expanding, and developing the tourism industry in Nepal.

Bharat Basnet (Founder of Explore Nepal) has been bestowed with the “PATA Personality of the Year 2024” Award for his unconditional support, persistent activism, advocacy, and commendable engagement towards the promotion and sustainable development of Nepal’s tourism sector, as well as his invaluable contributions to the association over the years.

Similarly, Narendra Deo Bhatta (Founder of Heritage Tours and Travels) was honored with the “PATA Special Contribution Award 2024” for his unwavering commitment and remarkable contributions to Nepalese tourism, as well as his exceptional legal guidance and support to the association.

Likewise, The Premiere Hotel School, Itahari, received the “PATA Best Student Chapter of the Year 2023” Award in recognition of their dedication and contributions in engaging with the initiatives and events of the PATA Nepal Chapter throughout 2023.

During the program, Wolfgang Georg Arlt (Founder of Meaningful Tourism Center) delivered the keynote speech on “Nepal Tourism 2.0,” sharing the manifesto of outcomes from the Experts Roundtable Meet organized by the PATA Nepal Chapter on June 5, 2024. On behalf of the Meaningful Tourism Center based in Germany, he presented the Meaningful Tourism Award (Gold) to the Community Homestay Network, Tiger Mountain Pokhara Lodge, and KGH Group of Hotels and Resorts. Similarly, the Nepal Academy of Tourism & Hotel Management received the Meaningful Tourism Award (Silver), while the Nepal Airlines Corporation and Hotel Himalaya received the Meaningful Tourism Award (Bronze).

Pacific Asia Travel Association PATA Nepal

The Chief Guest, Minister of Culture, Tourism, and Civil Aviation, expressed his happiness at the unanimous election of the New Executive Committee, noting that such unity is rare among institutions and organizations in the country nowadays. He shared the Government’s target of attracting 1.6 million tourists in 2024 and invited the private sector to introduce new and creative tourism products in international source markets to boost tourist influx. Additionally, he committed to working towards removing VAT on air tickets and other unnecessary taxes in tourism to encourage and enhance the highly potential and rewarding tourism sector.

The outgoing chairman, Thakur extended thanks to all the members and stakeholders of Nepal’s tourism for the continued collaboration and support to the association; inviting and requesting all present to work together for sustainable growth and development of tourism in the country.

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