June 24, 2023: The Nepal-China Friendship Dragon Boat Race Festival 2023 commenced in the beautiful city of Pokhara today. The festival’s opening ceremony witnessed Minister of Culture, Tourism, and Civil Aviation Sudhan Kirati expressing his confidence that this cultural exchange program would strengthen the bond between Nepal and China. Additionally, he anticipated that it would attract more Chinese tourists to Nepal. The minister highlighted the importance of such collaborative efforts, stating that they had the potential to elevate bilateral relations to unprecedented levels.
Chinese Ambassador to Nepal, Chen Song, acknowledged the longstanding economic, social, and cultural ties shared between the two countries. He expressed optimism that the festival would enhance relations between Nepal and China at a grassroots level and significantly contribute to tourism promotion in Nepal.
Dhananjay Regmi, CEO of Nepal Tourism Board, emphasized China’s significance as a major tourism market for Nepal. He expressed hope that this inaugural event in Nepal would bring new dimensions to the country’s tourism sector and further enhance tourism prospects in Pokhara.
Mayor of Pokhara Metropolitan City, Dhanraj Acharya, underscored the festival’s role in introducing innovative tourism products in Pokhara. He also committed to making the event a regular occurrence rather than a one-time happening.
The competition features the participation of four Nepali teams and four Chinese teams, totaling 160 participants from seven provinces of Nepal and China. Among the participating teams are the Sichuan Dragon Boat Team, Youth Boat Team, SC Dragon Boat Team (Singapore-China), China-Nepal Friendship Dragon Boat Team Pokhara, Nepal Association of Rafting Agents (NARA) Dragon Boat Team Nepal, Fewa Dragon Boat Team Nepal, and Pokhara Metropolitan Dragon Boat Team.
The competition includes a 200-meter race on the first day and a 500-meter race on the second day, with a total of eight races. The winning teams will receive a cash prize of two million rupees, along with medals and certificates.
This festival is a collaborative effort by various organizations, including the Nepal Tourism Board, Embassy of China in Nepal, Pokhara Metropolitan City, Pokhara Tourism Council, China Overseas Association, Hotel Association Nepal (HAN), Nepal Association of Rafting Agents (NARA), and Rafting and Canoeing Association of Nepal. Its objective is to promote cultural and adventure tourism.