Lee Tak Kin (Pitter), tourism entrepreneur based in Macau and Mainland China has been promoting Nepal. Lee recently visited Nepal to receive an official representative letter of Visit Lumbini Year (VLY) 2012 from Nepal Tourism Board. In an interview with Purna Basnet of Republica, he talks about his efforts to promote Nepal and possible investment in the sector.
What was the specific purpose of your recent visit to Nepal?
This was my third visit to Nepal and I led a group of 70 people including entrepreneurs from Macau, Hong Kong and Mainland China. We all visited Lumbini. Many people are still not aware that Buddha was born in Nepal. Even I was not aware about his when I visited Nepal for the first time in August, 2011. When I went back to Macau from the trip I began to think about tourism and started a campaign to inform people that Buddha was born in Nepal. As a result, many Chinese people are coming to Lumbini as they want to visit the birth place of Buddha. It is the matter of immense pleasure to me that NTB has appointed me as representative for VLY 2012. During my visit, I participated in business meetings and discussed about potential sectors for investment in Nepal. We were also lucky to meet high-level government officials including Vice President Pramananda Jha. Nepal has a huge tourism potential and many Chinese tourists are interested to visit this place. But, the visa problem is discouraging many tourists from coming to Nepal as they want to take visa before leaving the country.
What sort of visa problem are tourists facing while visiting Nepal?
My company is based in Macau and there is no Nepali Consul General. Interested tourist will have to go to Hong Kong for visa which is not convenient. Even, it´s not easy to get visa from Hong Kong because of the pressure of Chinese tourists. We have asked the government of Nepal to make the procedure easy but the problem is yet to be solved.
How are you promoting Lumbini in China?
We have a good business in Asia-Pacific region. We are working by ourselves to identify new destinations that can attract Chinese tourists. Besides we have good networking with different agencie and companies across China. In Hong Kong we are working with Alpha Travel run by Hong Kong based Nepali. My company is also working to bring in investment to Nepal as we are encouraging potential businessmen to visit Nepal.
What are the major attractions of Chinese tourists in Nepal? What is the reason for focusing on Nepal?
As a Buddhist I am focusing on bringing Chinese tourists to Lumbini. You know, there are a lot of Buddhist followers in China. There was a misunderstanding about the Buddha´s birth place, but know we changed their concept and they know Buddha was born in Nepal. The major attraction is undoubtedly Lumbini and they are also interested in sight-seeing, Himalayas, culture and landscape. Nepal also holds a good potential for investment.
In which sector do you plan to invest?
My first choice is tourism. First we have to bring businessmen as a traveler then we can explore investment opportunity here. I brought six businessmen during my first visit, now there are about 15 businessmen from Macau, Hong Kong and Mainland China who are showing interest to invest in tourism. Apart from that I am also conducting research for the possible business in real estate, hydro and agriculture. Fish farming, tobacco factory are also others ideas that I am considering for business