Tourist inflow via air sees exponential growth

Visitors to Nepal

Visitors to Nepal

Tourist inflow to Nepal jumped by 46.8 per cent in the first six months of 2017, indicating signs of recovery in the tourism industry that was shattered by the devastating earthquake of April 25, 2015 and the subsequent trade disruptions.

According to the Department of Immigration, the country received a total of 460,237 tourists in the first half of this year via air route, against 313,512 in the corresponding period of the previous year. Tourist arrivals in the first half of this year surpassed the figure of 2014, before the earthquake struck when country had received 412,461 tourists in the first six months.

Travel and tour entrepreneurs are upbeat about the revival of the tourism industry along with the increase in tourist arrivals.

“The earthquake and fuel crisis had adversely affected the flow of tourists in 2015 and 2016, but though the figure has increased this year, it is still a far cry from our target to bring in two million tourists by 2020,” said Madhusudan Acharya,president of Nepal Association of Tour and Travel Agents (NATTA).

Nepal a safe tourist destination

Nepal a safe tourist destination

Tourism entrepreneurs have cited weak infrastructure and high airfare as the major obstacles in tourist arrival growth.

“Nepal has been included among the top 10 travel destinations in 2017 by the Lonely Planet, a leading travel guide. Despite the positive message disseminated across the world, tourist flow is still tepid,” according to Binayak Shah, general secretary of Hotel Association Nepal.

Tourist arrival was at a record high in 2012, when the country had received 803,000 visitors by air. Entrepreneurs have said that the country is likely to receive even more number of tourists this year as the inflow of tourists is normally higher in the second half. The period between September and November is considered as the best tourist season in Nepal.

Kathmandu Durbar Square

Kathmandu Durbar Square

HAN General Secretary Shah informed that along with the large number of international organisations working in Nepal for post-quake reconstruction activities, the flow of visitors also increased as the reconstruction works gathered momentum since the beginning of this year. He stressed on the need to expand the country’s only international airport — Tribhuvan International Airport — and improve road connectivity.

“Air traffic congestion, high airfare and bleak road conditions are the major bottlenecks to raise the number of tourists,” Shah asserted. He alleged that the government is not serious towards developing critical infrastructure even though the private sector has substantially increased investment in the sector.

Visitor in Nepal

Visitor in Nepal

Shah also pointed out the prospect of bringing in more tourists from neighbouring India and China as the number of outbound travellers has been growing in these countries. Though the number of outbound travellers has been rising in India and China, the country has failed to tap the potential due to high airfare, he stated. “The airfare to Kathmandu is relatively higher at $350 for a 30-minute flight.”

In the January to June period this year, the country received a high number of tourists from India with a total of 89,196 visitors from the southern neighbour followed by China with 52,084 travellers via air. The country had received 54,224 tourists from India and 33,991 tourists from China in the same period of the previous year.

Source: Thehimalayantimes

Nepal, Tibet ( PRC) sign MoU to promote tourism, 10th JTCC meeting in TAR

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Nepal and the Tibet Autonomous Region of the Peoples Republic of China have signed a 16-point memorandum of understanding along with a commitment of collaboration for bilateral tourism.

The agreement was reached at the end of the 9th meeting of the Joint Tourism Coordination Committee between Tibet and Nepal that concluded here on June 28.

In the four-day meeting, both sides reviewed the progress achieved on the understandings made in previous meetings, and emphasized for further cooperation in implementing them while resolving the issues, if any, through mutual cooperation. The two sides also underscored the need of further promoting tourism cooperation by seizing opportunities available in both sides.

As part of the understanding, both sides have agreed to expedite the construction of Rasuwagadhi-Kerung border point and to open it up for tourist mobility gradually after the conditions meet required standard. Likewise, it was agreed to develop trans-boundary tourism co-operation between Humla District of Nepal and Pulan County (TAR of China) with regards to the Mt Kailash Sacred Landscape Programme (KSLP).

On resuming Kathmandu-Lhasa-Kathmandu direct bus services, both sides agreed to resolve issues such as carrier company, stopping and starting stations, safety, selling tickets, etc, so as to promote Nepal-China direct bus service. The Consulate General of Nepal in Lhasa will coordinate with China side in this regard.

Nepal ,Tibet ( PRC) sign MoU to promote tourism

Nepal, Tibet ( PRC) sign MoU to promote tourism

After agreeing to initiate dialogue to make uniform rules and regulations regarding age limit, disabilities etc in climbing border mountains, both sides agreed on helicopter rescue and evacuations in emergencies during mountaineering and trekking periods after securing required approval of the related authorities of their respective governments.

The Chinese side agreed to assist in promoting Nepal tourism among Chinese people through Chinese Tourism Authority. It also agreed that processing multiple entry visa and permit for mountaineers and support staff and issuing visa for pilgrims from Chinese Embassy in Kathmandu will be reported to the higher authorities in China.

Both sides agreed to explore the possibilities of increasing frequency of scheduled flights in Kathmandu-Lhasa-Kathmandu sector with reasonable fair, and to enhance cooperation among their travel-trade associations through their tourism authorities.

The two sides also agreed to report the unresolved issues to their higher authorities and make further coordination through the diplomatic channels.

The Nepali delegation to the JTCC was led by Director General at the Department of Tourism Sudarshan Prasad Dhakal and the Chinese delegation from Tibet was led by Vice Director General of the Tibet Tourism Development Committee Ga Ma Ze Deng.

The 10th meeting of the Joint Tourism Coordination Committee will be held in TAR of China in 2017.

Source: Travelbiznnews

Tourism industry decides to execute Vision 2020

With the government’s ambitious Vision 2020 campaign to boost annual tourist arrivals to 2 million slowing down, the private sector has joined forces to give it a shot in the arm.

Travel trade associations like Hotel ASSOCIATION Nepal (HAN), Trekking Agencies Association of Nepal, Nepal Association of Tour and Travel Agents, Pacific Asia Travel Association, Nepal Association of Tour Operators and Nepal Mountaineering Association forged a pact on Wednesday to pursue the campaign jointly.

The group has also decided to conduct various national level events. A taskforce has been formed under the chairmanship of HAN General Secretary Binayak Shah to set the campaign in motion.

The government had launched Vision 2020 in 2012 with the view of increasing arrivals to 2 million by 2020. The effort has also set an ambitious target to increase EMPLOYMENT in tourism to 1 million. Vision 2020 follows Nepal Tourism Year 2011 that has been described as being a moderately successful campaign for being able to partly restore Nepal’s tourism image damaged by an insurgency that lasted from 1996-2006.

Subsequently, the government announced Visit Lumbini Year 2012, but the campaign failed to attain its goal which critics blamed on lack of adequate preparation. In 1998, the country had conducted a successful tourism campaign named Visit Nepal 1998. Nearly 800,000 tourists visited Nepal last year.

“The Vision 2020 campaign is an important event for Nepal’s tourism, but the government has been conducting the preparations at crawling speed,” said Shah. “In this scenario, we have decided that we need to make early preparations from our side,” he added.

At a time when the country’s tourism promotional body the Nepal Tourism Board has not been able to perform its duties efficiently, the government should be more serious about attaining the goal, Shah said. The tourism board has not been able to name a chief executive officer for the last three years.

Source : Ekantipur