Tourism inflow into Nepal increased by 46.8 percent in the first half of the current year, registering a year-on-year rise.
According to the Department of Immigration, Nepal saw around 460,237 tourists (via air route) in the first half of 2017, against 313,512 visitors year-on-year.
After a record-high inflow in 2012 (803,000 visitors by air), tourist inflow into the country had come down to 412,461 in the first six months of 2014, which declined further in 2015 and 2016 following a massive earthquake in April 2015.
However, the government’s data indicates signs of recovery for the country’s tourism sector.
The recent rise in tourist inflow comes as a slight encouragement to the travel and tour entrepreneurs of Nepal, who have been facing tough time due to decline in tourist inflow to the country.
“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,” says Madhusudan Acharya, President of Nepal Association of Tour and Travel Agents (NATTA).
Meanwhile, General Secretary of Hotel Association Nepal Binayak Shah said, “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 Shah, post-quake reconstruction activity that started in 2017 and a large number of international organizations working in Nepal for the same contributed to rise in tourist inflow.
Travel and tour entrepreneurs are also hopeful of further rise in tourist arrivals in the second half of 2017, especially during September and November, the best tourist season in Nepal.
Citing weak infrastructure and high airfare as the major factors hindering tourism inflow, they also urged the government to focus on infrastructure development and expansion of the country’s only international airport-Tribhuvan International Airport.