In an exciting update on Nepal tourism, industry watchers said the number of tourist arrivals to Nepal will most likely hit the magic figure of 1 million by the end of 2017.
The analysts’ projection was based on the arrival trends during the first 10 months of 2017 (January-October 2017), wherein, a total number of 757,448 arrivals was recorded resulting in an over rise of 25.47 percent.
According to the Department of Immigration Nepal, an additional 153,792 foreign visitors (including overland arrivals) were observed during the period, compared to year-on-year, with a significant rise in tourists from India, United States, China and Europe.
October, the peak tourist season, witnessed the all-time high of 112,492 tourists this year and the travel trade entrepreneurs expect November 2017 to record more than 130,000 tourists breaking all the past records.
The latest figures come as a major boost to the Nepali tourism sector that has been on the path of recovery, after facing a major hit by the devastating 2015 earthquake and a trade embargo by India.
As a result, Nepal tourism had gone to a six-year low registering only 538,970 foreign visitors that year.
However, the latest figures come as a great encouragement to the country’s tourism industry.
“The growth puts Nepal on a path to record arrivals. This is an achievement that should make us all proud, irrespective of the 2015 earthquake, subsequent trade embargo and crumbling infrastructure at the country’s sole international airport,” says Senior Nepali Hotel Entrepreneur Yogendra Sakya.
Nepal Tourism Board and private sector firms have been putting in efforts to promote Nepal as a top tourism destination, globally.
This was evident in a recent World Travel Market 2017, a UK travel trade fair, that saw Nepal as a special attraction to the global business community.
Even though Nepal Tourism Board and the private sector have invested a lot on tourism promotion, it’s the social media that played a key role, opines Sakya.
“Social media has emerged as a key tool. People obtain a true story and true picture on social media connecting Nepal across the globe,” read a statement by Sakya.
Various foreign publications and media have also been featuring Nepal as the 2017 top tourist destination, globally.
Lonely Planet named Nepal the world’s Best Value Destination for 2017, and the National Geographic also listed Nepal among the top 10 places that deserve more travelers.
The latest figures project the growth of Nepal tourism far beyond expectations.
According to the Nepal Rastra Bank, the country earned a record revenue of Rs 58.52 billion in foreign exchange from the Nepal tourism industry in the 2016-2017 fiscal that ended in July 2017.
Meanwhile, the Nepali tourism industry is also witnessing a rapid development with a record boom in hotel construction activity across the country.
According to Hotel Association Nepal, a dozen hotels are investing more than Rs 40 billion in the industry and the average occupancy rate of hotels is also expected to cross 80 percent in 2017, above 70 percent in 2016.
Given the current growth trend in hotel construction activity, the Nepal tourism industry is expecting around 4,000 star-category rooms by 2020.