Nepal Tourism Board along with four Nepalese private travel companies namely Mountain Adventure Trekking, Snowland Travel and Tours, Makalu Adventure and Sahara Worldwide Travels and Tours actively participated for the first time in Nordic Travel Fair Matka 2008, the biggest travel event in Nordic and Baltic region, held from January 17 to 20, 2008 in Helsinki, Finland.
Inaugurated by Dr. Paavo Vayrynen, Minister for Foreign Trade and Development, Government of Finland, the fair had good response from the tour operators and professionals on the first day specially those from nearby Estonia and St. Petersberg. The next three days were aimed at consumers, considering the trend of the Finnish travelers who normally shop around for the holiday destinations during winter. There were 1,100 exhibitors from 77 countries occupying the space of 16,000 sq. meters. Visited by 9178 tour operators and 85000 consumers, the fair showed an encouraging prospect of Nepalese tourism in Finnish as well as North European market.
A long feature article on Himalayas of Nepal and cultural heritage in the MATKA issue of Panorama magazine, written and edited by Mr. Reijo Harkonen, Honorary PRR for NTB, fetched good interest from quite a number of visitors in the Fair. In addition to that, another beautiful article published in “Helsingin Sanomat”- popular daily newspaper with the circulation of 450,000 – on the third day of the fair, January 19, 2008 about Annapurna trekking made the visitors even more curious about Nepal in general and trekking in particular. Inquiries about Nepal by the visitors were tremendous. According to the response of the visitors, they seemed more interested in trekking. Yet, other natural and cultural products have not lost any charm among the Finnish people.
There are more than 10 Nepalese Restaurants, very much well known among the locals, in Helsinki. Their observation about the Finnish people’s interest about Nepal shows a great hope and prospect of the growth of Nepalese tourism in Finland. In fact, they can be very good platforms to increase the awareness about Nepal’s diverse tourism attractions. The active Nepali diaspora in Finland have played a significant role in generating public awareness about Nepal and cultivating interests in them to visit Nepal.
Finland’s national carrier Finn Air has published special fares for Helsinki/Delhi & Helsinki/Mumbai sectors for MATKA 2008 making it “Fast & Easy” travel to Nepal as well. Very soon they are going to come out with a special Pro Rata basis fare for Helsinki/KTM via Delhi. This definitely is a positive sign that supports NTB’s first ever participation in Finland along with the Nepalese travel trade.