Nepal tourism shows signs of recovery

Published on : Thursday, January 12, 2017

Nepal tourismAfter being hit by twin disasters of destructive earthquake and crippling trade embargo in 2015, Nepal tourism experienced a much time last year. Foreign tourist arrivals rose to 39.71% to 753,002 in 2016, boosted by maximum visitor growth from India, China, the US, the UK and Sri Lanka. However, this figure is still less than 2014, when Nepal welcomed 790,118 foreign visitors. The tourism boom is expected to continue in 2017, remaining a major growth driver for the country’s economy.

 
Last year, October, November and December saw the maximum numbers of tourists. To quote Kedar Neupane, director general of the Department of Immigration, “It’s a dramatic growth. The industry is returning rapidly to its pre-earthquake growth level. The tourism boom is expected to continue in 2017 given a level of promotion by Nepal in the major source markets.” He said that Nepal government, its tourism board and private sector carried on aggressive promotional activities, 2017 can turn out to be an extraordinary year and can attract 1 million tourists.

 
Neupane said that Nepal might see a boom in Chinese arrivals this year following the move by the Chinese government to encourage travel to the country. Suman Pandey, chairman of the Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA) Nepal Chapter, said that 2017 looked promising, but the crumbling Tribhuvan International Airport (TIA), Nepal’s only international aerial gateway, could be a major setback. TIA currently served 28 international carriers, but it has said that it cannot accommodate more flights.

 

Due to the earthquake, Nepal has received a lot of media attention and this given rise to tremendous interest among prospective travelers. Lonely Planet has named Nepal as ‘best value destination’ for 2017. The New York Times has featured Nepal’s Langtang region in their ’52 places to go in 2017’ list. Nepal has also appeared in the January travel issue of chinadaily.com.cn.

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