Himalaya is the only airline operating direct flights between the two cities with the aim to capture and encourage the tourist influx to both the cities.
Connecting first to Beijing in Oct 2019, the airlines has aggressively moved forward with back-to-back direct flights to cities in China: Beijing, Guiyang, Changsha, Shenzhen and now Chongqing. This new service is expected to provide greater options for both business and leisure travelers.
The maiden flight was inaugurated by Mr. Yogesh Bhattarai - Honorable Minister of Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation (MOCTCA) with a ribbon cutting ceremony held at Tribhuvan International Airport. Her Excellency Ms. Hou Yanqi, Ambassador of the People's Republic of China to Nepal, Mr. Kedar Bahadur Adhikari – Secretary of Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation and Mr. Rajan Pokhrel - Director General of Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal (CAAN) and other high ranking Government officials were present at the occasion.
The inaugural flight H9 787 departed from Tribhuvan International Airport (TIA) at 09:40 hours (local time) and touched down at Chongqing Jiangbei International Airport (CKG) at 15:26 hours (local time). The return flight from Chongqing is expected to depart at 17:00 hours (local time) and shall arrive at TIA at 19:15 hours (local time), the same day. The early departure and afternoon arrival will provide passengers with more flexibility to plan their itineraries.
As a part of the inaugural celebration, the airlines held a Press Meet at The Dwarika’s Hotel right after the successful departure of the flight.
In his opening speech, Mr. Zhou Enyong, President of Himalaya Airlines expressed, “It is indeed a great pleasure to announce this new route on the auspicious occasion of the Spring Festival, our Chinese New Year gift to all the travelers from China. As Nepal sets off for its global tourism campaign “Visit Nepal Year 2020” the launch could not have got any better timing. With this connectivity, we aim at welcoming added no. of Chinese tourists to Nepal, contributing our share to Nepal’s growing tourism. Since our first route to Beijing from Oct 2019, within a span of 2 months Himalaya has already carried over 4,242 Chinese passengers to Nepal through its flights to four different cities in China and this number is only going to increase in coming days. We promise a joyful and smooth flying experience between both the countries”
The Ambassador of the People's Republic of China to Nepal, Her Excellency Ms. Hou Yanqi, remarked “We appreciate the continuous efforts of route expansion by Himalaya Airlines which is bringing the two countries closer day by day. We extend all good wishes and support to Himalaya in its endeavor to introduce more routes like this that connect the people and culture of both the countries in a positive way and help significantly to boost the trade and tourism.”
Congratulating the airlines, Honorable Minister Mr. Yogesh Bhattarai said, “China-Nepal is an important connectivity in terms of promoting bi-lateral relationships between both the countries. With Himalaya’s growing network, we look forward in strengthening the congruence of both the countries on all fronts especially in tourism sector. We wish a great success to Himalaya in its operations.”
Mr. Vijay Shrestha, Vice President – Administration in his thank you note, commented, “We appreciate the continuous efforts of route expansion by Himalaya Airlines which is bringing the two countries closer day by day. We extend all good wishes and support to Himalaya in its endeavor to introduce more routes like this that connect the people and culture of both the countries in a positive way and help significantly to boost the trade and tourism.”
The Ambassador of the People's Republic of China to Nepal, Her Excellency Ms. Hou Yanqi, remarked “China is our prime target market and we are excited to expand our footprints to yet another major city of China. Chongqing is a key point of origin for tourist arrivals into our country and this is our fifth destination in PR of China. We intend to procure more aircraft and operate more flights, on more routes in PR of China. We highly appreciate the patronage and support of the Government of Nepal, particularly MOCTCA, in our endeavor towards strengthening aviation in our country and towards promoting Nepalese tourism. We are positive that in addition to our established routes, this new route alone will generate 50,000 tourist arrivals a year, which will help attain Visit Nepal Year 2020 goals.”
Chongqing, one of the centrally administered municipalities in China along with Beijing, Shanghai and Tianjin offers remarkable attractions to visitors. Chongqing known for its rich history and cultural heritage, serves as an economic and manufacturing center apart from being the transportation hub for Southwest China.
China has placed Nepal as a new leisure destination, which is one of the driving reasons for increased Chinese visitors into Nepal over the past two years. China is presently the second largest tourist arrival market for Nepal with approx. 170,000 visitors for 2019 showing the growth of around 11% over the same period of 2018. This is an exponential growth, as China now holds almost 15% share of tourist arrivals in 2019.