Tourist arrivals to Nepal recorded double-digit growth in the first half of 2018, the Nepal Tourism Board (NTB) said. Nepal welcomed 520,014 foreign tourists during the period January-June, up 13 percent year-on-year.
The latest figures have raised hopes that arrivals will cross the 1.2 million mark in 2018. Arrivals to Nepal hit a new high in 2017 but remained short of the much ballyhooed target of 1 million individuals as national elections in November and December resulted in weaker-than-expected growth, according to the Department of Immigration said. The country received 940,218 tourists last year, up 24.86 percent from 2016.
With the improved arrivals, tourism revenues are also expected to beat expectations. The country earned a record Rs58.52 billion in foreign exchange from the tourism industry in the previous fiscal year 2016-17, according to the figures released by Nepal Rastra Bank. Tourism earnings in the first 11 months of the last fiscal year that ended on Monday jumped 13 percent to Rs62.57 billion.
According to the Department of Immigration, 65,159 international tourists visited Nepal in June, with a healthy increment of 16.4 percent as compared to the arrival figures of June 2017.
Arrivals from India, the country’s key source market, grew 18.8 percent to 23,899 individuals in June. Overall, arrivals from the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (Saarc) countries registered a growth of 28.1 percent over the same month last year. Visitor arrivals from China continued to soar as in the previous months and jumped by 34.1 percent to 8,700 individuals in June as compared to arrivals in the same month last year.
Arrivals from Asia (other than Saarc) also recorded a growth of 23.6 percent. Likewise, visitors from Thailand and Malaysia to Nepal increased by 206.7 percent and 31.2 percent respectively. However, arrivals from South Korea plunged 31.4 percent year-on-year.
An overall increase of 9.6 percent in June has been recorded from the European market. Germany and Spain gained 27.5 percent and 22.7 percent respectively in June. However, arrivals from France declined by 13.6 percent. Tourist arrivals from Australia and New Zealand increased by 5.7 percent and 1.5 percent respectively in June. Likewise, visitors from the US and Canada grew 15.3 percent and 20.7 percent respectively in June.