Foreign currency earnings from tourists increased by 190 percent in the past one year

Published On: May 29, 2023 01:30 PM NPT By: Enika Rai

KATHMANDU, May 29: The tourism sector, which has shrunk due to Covid-19 pandemic, is gradually improving. With the increase in foreign tourist arrivals, the foreign currency earnings from tourists has also increased significantly.

According to the Economic Survey 2089/80 BS published by the Ministry of Finance on Sunday, the foreign currency earnings from foreign tourists increased by 190 percent to a total of Rs 47.76 billion. In 2022, foreign currency collected from foreign tourists visiting Nepal for various purposes increased.

According to the Economic Survey, the number of tourist arrivals in 2020 and 2021 remained limited to 230,000 and 151,000, respectively, and it increased significantly to 614,869 in 2022.

The tourism sector, which has slowed down due to the Covid-19 pandemic, is picking up its original pace recently. In 2019, there was a slight decrease in the average stay of tourists in 2022 due to the Covid-19 pandemic, with the arrival of around 1.2 million tourists in 2019, excluding Indian tourists coming by land. During this period, the average stay of tourists was 13.1 days and the average spending per day per tourist was 40.5 US dollars. The average length of stay of tourists in 2020 and 2021 was 15.1 days and 15.5 days respectively.

Meanwhile, 34.1 percent of the tourists who came in 2022 were from India, 12.5 percent from the US, 7.3 percent from UK 4.4 percent from Australia, 4.1 percent from Bangladesh and 37.6 percent from other countries. 

Among those who came to Nepal during this period, tourists from India, the US, UK, Australia and Bangladesh accounted for 62.4 percent. According to the survey, the number of tourists coming to Nepal from Australia has increased by about 10 times in 2022 as compared to 2021.

Similarly, the number of mountaineering teams under the adventure zone has reached 1,952 by the end of 2022. The number of Himalayan climbers was 447 in 2020 and 3446 in 2021, and has reached 8468 in 2022.

Thus, along with the increase in the number of climbers, the royalties received from mountaineering have also increased. According to the survey, such royalty was collected in 2021 from Rs 635.2 million and in 2022 it reached Rs 703.4 million. Since the royalty fee for mountains less than 6,500 meters high is low and the number of mountaineers climbing such mountains is high during this period, the royalty in 2022 is low in proportion to the increase in the number of mountaineers.

The survey has mentioned that the action plan of 2023-2032 is being implemented as the tourism decade for overall tourism development by prioritizing tourism promotion to revive the tourism sector affected by the Covid-19 pandemic. It also shows that the conceptual master plan of the Greater Lumbini area and the detailed project report of the Ramgram master plan have been prepared.

Similarly, Nepal's 'National Tourism Strategy 2016-2025' had set the goal of attracting more than 2.5 million tourists annually by 2025. However, during this period, apart from Indian tourists coming by land, only 734,000 tourists have visited Nepal annually.

Out of the total number of tourists who visited Nepal in 2022, 64.7 percent of tourists visited for vacation and entertainment and travel. Likewise, 12.9 percent visited Nepal for pilgrimage, 10.0 percent for mountaineering and adventure travel, and 12.4 percent for other purposes.

Among the tourist destinations in Nepal, Lumbini has been a major tourist destination. As the impact of Covid-19 subsides, there has been an encouraging increase in the number of domestic and foreign tourists visiting Lumbini. Among those who visited Lumbini in 2022, there are 949,000 Nepalese, 231,000 Indians and 24,000 from other countries.

A total of 61,498 people have received training from the Nepal Tourism and Hotel Management College. According to the survey, five-star hotels including deluxe were 162 as of February 2078, and have increased to 173 as of February 2022.

Similarly, the number of tourist-level hotels, lodges and resorts, including deluxe and luxury heritage boutique hotels other than the star level, was 1,183 as of February 2022, and increased to 1,228 as of February 2023.

In addition, the number of beds in star level hotels increased by 560 until February of the current fiscal year and has reached 16,335.

Similarly, apart from star level hotels, the number of beds in tourist level deluxe and luxury heritage boutique hotels, lodges and resorts has increased by 4393 up to February of the current financial year and has reached 37,030 so far, according to the Economic Survey 2079-80 BS. As of February 2023, 28 casinos and mini-casinos are operating, which was 24 as of June 2022.

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