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2018 Tourist Arrivals: 9.6% YoY Rise in May, 12.5% Rise in Jan-May
Department of Tourism reported a 9.6% rise in tourist arrivals to Nepal in May 2018, year-on-year
Proceeding the positive trend driven by the record tourist arrivals in 2017, Nepal started witnessing a further rise in the number of tourist arrivals in 2018.
Recent statistics by the Department of Tourism have shown a 9.6 percent rise in number of tourists visiting Nepal in the month of May 2018, year-on-year.
When it comes to the overall 2018 tourist arrivals in Nepal, the first five months of the year saw a 12.5 percent year-on-year growth.
According to the department, a total of 68,825 foreign tourists visited Nepal during the month, with SAARC countries alone showing a 2.2 percent rise over the same month last year and Asia (other than SAARC) accounting to 14.2 percent rise.
Nepal saw 940,218 foreign tourists in 2017 with most of them coming from neighboring nations, followed by the US, Canada, Australia and Europe, among others.
The latest announcement comes as an encourage to Nepal Tourism department, which is aiming at 2 million annual tourist arrival target by 2020.
Celebrating the growth in tourism activity, the Himalayan country is also planning to observe 2020 as the Visit Nepal Year.
Average Duration of Stay
In contrast to the rising tourist arrival trend, the Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation statistics indicate a drop in the average duration of foreign tourists’ stay in Nepal in 2017, terming that as a seven-year low.
According to the department of tourism, 2017 saw a 6% drop in the duration of stay, year-on-year, missing the target of 14 days.
The average duration of stay was just 12.6 days in 2017, less than 13.4 days in 2016, 13.16 days in 2015, 12.44 in 2014, 12.60 in 2013, 12.16 in 2012, 13.12 in 2011 and 12.67 in 2010.
The department analyzed the length of stay of 400,000 tourists as part of the survey.
According to Bikram Pandey-Kaji, a campaigner for Buddhist circuit cross-border tourism, the rise in 4-5 day packages has contributed to decline in the duration of stay among foreign tourists.
“The data may change but the decline in the number is not so alarming,” he said. “The fluctuation in statistical calculation has occurred because of an increasing number of tourists visiting more than two places during one travel. So, they have shorter stay in Nepal,” says Pandey.
“In 2017, the country was facing infrastructure issues, political changes, pollution and other obstacles. So, most of the tourists may have preferred to shorten their lengths of stay in Nepal,” Binayak Shah, General Secretary of Hotel Association Nepal (HAN).
“In any case, rather than the number of days, the amount they spend here matters more,” he adds. The average spending of a foreign tourist per day in Nepal increased to USD 54 in 2017 from USD 53 of the previous year.
Shah is hopeful that the things would get better gradually in 2018.