KATHMANDU, May 27: Notwithstanding the fact that Nepal is popular for trekking and mountaineering among foreigners, an overwhelming majority of tourists who visited Nepal in the year 2019 are found to have come here for entertainment purposes.
According to the data compiled by the Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation, some 65 percent of tourists visited Nepal for entertainment purposes, while those visiting Nepal for trekking stood only about 17 percent. Similarly, some 14 percent of the total tourists visited Nepal for mountaineering and trekking purposes and four percent others came here for various other purposes.
Meanwhile, the government in 2019 collected Rs 686 million in royalty from mountaineers scaling different mountains of the country against Rs 581 million in 2018. The government has suspended mountaineering and halted the issuance of climbing permits for the expeditions due to the COVID-19 pandemic this year.
With the suspension of international flights from March 22, the flow of tourists through air route has been zero. A total of 107,785 entered Nepal through Tribhuvan International Airport --the country’s sole international airport-- as of April, 2020, while the country welcomed 337,983 tourists in the corresponding period of 2019. The inflow has declined by 46.6 percent as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Nepal had to cancel Visit Nepal 2020 which was being celebrated with an aim of bringing in two million tourists into the country amid the concern of COVID-19 pandemic.