Promoting Nepal’s tourism potential beyond Mount Everest

Published On: April 3, 2024 07:30 AM NPT By: Republica  | @RepublicaNepal

Nepal’s tourism industry seems to have bounced back with a notable number of foreigners arriving via air routes last month. According to Nepal Tourism Board (NTB), the number of foreign visitors in March surged by 28.90 percent compared to the same period of last year. The NTB reported that 128,167 tourists from various countries entered Nepal by air in March alone. The inflow of tourists in the review month was a record high in the past four years. In March 2023, the number of tourists who visited Nepal stood at 99,426. This does not include the tourists visiting Nepal through land routes. In the first three months of 2024, Nepal welcomed a total of 304,693 air travelers. In January, the number was 79,100 while in February, it stood at 97,426. NTB officials said the tourism market has started to witness a notable growth with an increase in the inflow of visitors. They believe that the notable surge in the numbers shows a sign of the recovery of the sector after the sector was hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic. This highlights the need to leverage a positive surge in tourist arrivals in Nepal.

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. However, there is also a need to bust the narrative that the reason to visit Nepal is Mount Everest and other high Himalayas, giving an initial impression to potential visitors that this Himalayan nation is only for climbing and trekking. Nepal is certainly more than that. With its rich cultural heritage and unique culture and natural landscape, there is so much Nepal can offer to any foreigners. Nepal also takes pride in becoming the most open society in the region, with the government promoting liberal values. In this regard, it is heartening to note that the USAID and Nepal Tourism Board (NTB) have jointly launched the International Tourism Campaign in partnership with Steller, a renowned global travel-inspired storytelling platform, amidst a special function organized in the capital on Monday. The collaborative effort between USAID and the NTB aims to showcase Nepal's rich history, cultural diversity, and abundant tourism opportunities to a global audience. This campaign builds upon the success of the 2023 campaign which reached over 16.3 million travelers and achieved $15.8 million in earned media value.

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. The government must work towards bringing these two international airports into full operation. Along with this is a need to introduce a comprehensive strategy that includes not only airport facilities but also road networks, public transportation, and digital connectivity. A holistic approach is needed to create an environment conducive to prolonged tourists’ stay and exploration beyond the major hubs. The increase in the number of tourists makes a compelling case for further investment in connectivity and tourism 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.

Leave A Comment