RASUWA, March 5: The number of Chinese tourists coming to Nepal through the Rasuwagadhi border point is increasing with every passing year.
As Rasuwagadhi is the only international border crossing between Nepal and China, this route is becoming popular among tourists. Chinese tourists visiting Nepal have been using Rasuwagadhi route after the Tatopani border point in Sindhupalchowk district was shut following the 2015 earthquakes.
Data provided by Rasuwagadhi Immigration Office shows over 36,000 Chinese tourists have entered Nepal through Rasuwagadhi since it was designated as international border crossing by Nepal and China.
The number of Chinese tourists account for over 70 percent of total tourist arrivals via Rasuwagadhi point. Altogether 53,099 foreign tourists have entered Nepal from Rasuwagadhi since it was declared international border crossing in 2016.
While only 4,961 tourists used the border point to enter Nepal in 2016, the number grew to 17,620 visited in 2017 and 12,811 in 2018. Foreign tourist arrivals through Rasuwagadhi have reached 1,282 over the first two months of 2019.
Bishnu Gharti, an immigration officer at Rasuwagadhi Immigration Office, said more Chinese tourists are entering Nepal using land route as Nepal offers free visa facility to Chinese tourists. The office has installed a digital display board on its premises so that tourists get immigration information easily. It also provides free drinking water as well as Wi-Fi services to tourists free of cost.
"Tourists can submit visa application online through the website of Department of Immigration. We issue visa after matching details that they had submitted while submitting applications online," added Gharti.
Tourists from all over the world except 12 countries – Nigeria, Ghana, Zimbabwe, Swaziland, Cameroon, Somalia, Liberia, Ethiopia, Iraq, Palestine, Afghanistan and Syria – get visa on arrival from Rasuwagadhi Immigration Office.