Inflow of tourists in Nepal has increased by 12.77 percent in the first six months of 2016. After a major dropdown in the number of tourists, this rise in number is a sign that the tourism industry in Nepal is slowly getting back to its previous benchmark. According to Department of Immigration statistics, Nepal received 313,512 tourists in the first half this year, against 277,992 in the same period a year ago. Despite the rise, the arrivals are still low as compared to previous years. In 2014, the country had received 412,461 tourists in the first six months.
Travel trade entrepreneurs are hoping for a significant rise in the number of tourists for the peak Autumn Season(September-November). Nepal’s tourism industry was severely affected by the April earthquake with a major dropdown in the inflow of tourists.
Arrivals from India increased 37.62 percent to 54,224 in the first six months of the year. To boost the arrival of Chinese tourist in Nepal, Nepal has implemented on-arrival visa fee-free policy. Travel trade entrepreneurs attributed the fall in the number of Chinese tourists to lower flight frequency of Chinese carriers. But they are now returning to normal. China Southern Airlines has announced daily flights between Guangzhou and Kathmandu from September 1, and the frequency will be upped to double daily flights from October 30. After last year’s disaster and fuel crisis, the carrier had cut its frequency to three flights weekly.
China Eastern Airlines, which connects Kathmandu with Kunming, is planning to boost its frequency to daily from three flights weekly from October. Another Chinese airline, Air China, currently operates nine flights weekly to Nepal.
Meanwhile, tourist arrivals from the US, UK and Sri Lanka jumped 47.40 percent, 40.19 percent and 22 percent respectively in the first six months of 2016. The arrivals from Korea, Japan, France and Bangladesh rose slightly.
The arrivals from Germany jumped 158 percent to 9,673, but those from Thailand, Myanmar and Australia recorded a negative growth.
Source : The Kathmandu Post