A total of 218,173 foreign visitors arrived in the country until the end of October this year, as per the recent tourist arrival data released by Nepal Tourism Board (NTB).

This is merely 18.22 per cent of the total foreigners who had visited Nepal last year. In 2019, Nepal had recorded arrival of 1,197,191 international tourists.

“We had projected that at least 35 to 40 per cent of foreign tourists of the total arrivals last year would visit Nepal this year but it is likely to reach only 20 to 22 per cent by the end of December,” said Mani Lamichhane, director of Research, Planning and Monitoring Department at NTB.

Arrivals at a glance

Month 2019 2020 Remarks
January 81,273 79,686 By land and air
February 102,423 101,400 By land and air
March 127,351 34,025 By air only
April 109,399 13 By air only
May 78,329 30 By air only
June 74,883 100 By air only
July 70,916 195 By air only
August 94,749 268 By air only
September 92,604 582 By air only
October 134,096 1,874 By air only
November 130,302
December 100,866
Source: NTB


As per Lamichhane, the board had formed a task force to study the situation of the international tourism market, where tourists are visiting, how and when the international destinations are opening, and what protocols they have adopted, among others.

“We will design programmes based on their recommendation,” he said, adding, “Since China’s domestic tourism is boosting, we are designing China-focused programmes whereas there is not much possibility of tourists arriving from India, the United States and Europe for some time.” Lamichhane informed that the board has started a web portal ‘friendinnepal.com’ to connect with international travellers who are interested in visiting Nepal.

Lamichhane said that the arrival of international tourists is gradually increasing in the country, which shows that adventure lovers are still keen to travel here.

Tourism entrepreneurs said that if tourist visas are eased, a rapid but reliable COVID-19 testing system is managed at the airports and quarantine period for foreign tourists is waived off, more tourists are likely to visit Nepal.

“However, both tourists and those working in the tourism industry have to take precaution while travelling,” said Bijay Amatya, CEO of Kora Tours. He opined that there would not be a sudden rise in the arrival of international tourists and the increase will also depend on how Nepal controls the spread of COVID-19 infection.

“The gradual increase of international tourists after the opening of Nepal for trekking and mountaineering activities is a positive sign, but the healthy growth of international tourists will likely start only from the fourth quarter of the next year. To reach the pre-pandemic levels of tourist arrivals, we will have to wait for 2024-25,” Amatya opined.

Meanwhile, NTB had launched the Desh Darshan programme on September 26 to promote domestic tourism. “We have also formed a domestic tourism revival committee on October 21 in every province.

Similarly, we are in regular connection with travel vloggers,” added Lamichhane.

A version of this article appears in print on November 06, 2020 of The Himalayan Times.

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