Leveraging the positive surge in tourist arrivals

Published On: February 2, 2024 07:20 AM NPT By: Republica  | @RepublicaNepal

A total of 79,100 foreign tourists came to Nepal in the first month of 2024. According to the Nepal Tourism Board (NTB), this is 24,026 more than the number of foreign tourists visiting Nepal in the same month last year. The government has already announced plans to double the number of tourists this year compared to last year. According to the NTB, Indian tourists are the highest in numbers in January, with a total of 24,139 people visiting the Himalayan nation. Similarly, 7,267 Chinese tourists visited Nepal in January. NTB data shows that a total of 7,047 people from the US came to visit Nepal. The number of tourists visiting Nepal from Thailand ranks as the fourth largest, with a total of 4,619 Thai tourists in January. Likewise, 3,812 tourists from South Korea, 3,629 from Bangladesh, 3,421 from Australia, 3,276 from Britain, 2,229 from Bhutan, and 1,568 from Japan visited Nepal in January. The positive growth in the arrival of tourists comes in the wake of Nepal achieving its target of bringing in one million foreign tourists in 2023. The increased arrival of foreigners in the country in the first month of the New Year 2023 shows that the tourism sector is bouncing back after the COVID-19 pandemic.

With a rise in the influx of foreign tourists, the demand for top-notch accommodations is also on the upswing in the country. This trend not only reflects positively on the hospitality industry but also has far-reaching implications for employment opportunities at home and a substantial contribution to the national economy through foreign currency earnings. It is heartening to observe that the rise in star hotels is not confined to Kathmandu alone but extends to various locations across the country. This expansion is a testament to the diversification of tourism beyond the capital and the eagerness of hotel entrepreneurs to tap into the potential of different regions. Needless to say, the tourism sector offers great potential for Nepal to improve its economic status. Nepal's strategic location between China and India positions it as a key player in the tourism arena. However, for this growth to be sustained and to attract even more visitors, it is crucial for the government to invest in enhancing connectivity and other tourist infrastructures. The construction of two new international airports, including Gautam Buddha International Airport and Pokhara Regional International Airport, is a positive development.

However, there is a need for a comprehensive strategy that includes not only airport facilities but also road networks, public transportation, and digital connectivity. A holistic approach is required to create an environment conducive to prolonged tourists’ stay and exploration beyond the major hubs. The increased number of tourists shows that Nepal has a huge prospect of bringing in more foreign tourists. This makes a compelling case for further investment in connectivity and tourist infrastructure to extend the average length of stay in Nepal. The government must seize this opportune moment to channel resources into building the necessary infrastructure that will enhance connectivity and create an immersive experience for tourists. Only then can Nepal hope to meet the target of bringing in two million tourists, offering visitors a rich and fulfilling experience while simultaneously bolstering the nation's economic prosperity.


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