Kathmandu, June 29 Against the government’s plan to bring in quality foreign tourists with high-spending capacity, average spending of foreigners in the country dropped by 22.73 per cent in 2018, as per the government’s latest statistics. While the average per day spending of a foreign tourist in Nepal was $54 in 2017, it came down to $44 per day in 2018, states the Nepal Tourism Statistics 2018 prepared by the Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation (MoCTCA), thereby signifying that the number of high-spending tourists in Nepal is declining in recent years against the government’s plan to increase the inflow of such travellers. Similarly, the average length of stay of foreign tourists in Nepal in 2018 dropped to 12.4 days from 12.6 days in 2017. The three year development plan (2016-2018) of the government had aimed to increase the length of stay of foreigners to 14 days by 2018, which ranged from eight to 13.5 days in the past. This drop in both spending and length of stay of foreigners in Nepal in spite of increasing number of tourists has worried tourism stakeholders lately. They have said that availability of diversified tourism products across the country is crucial for not only increasing the number of foreign tourists in Nepal, but also their length of stay and spending here. “We do not have ample tourism packages beyond major cities like Kathmandu and Pokhara. If we are to increase the length of stay of tourists and their spending, we need to identify tourism products across the country and promote them globally among tourists,” said Binayak Shah, a hotelier. Meanwhile, officials at Nepal Tourism Board (NTB) said that the rise of Airbnb services in Nepal has hit the record of tourist spending and their length of stay in Nepal. Airbnb is an online marketplace which lets people rent out their properties or spare rooms to guests and takes three per cent commission of every booking from hosts, and between six per cent and 12 per cent from guests. “Tourist spending and their stay under Airbnb like services do not come into the record of the government,” said Deepak Raj Joshi, chief executive officer of Nepal Tourism Board, adding that the actual spending and length of stay of foreign tourists have been increasing in Nepal.
Average tourist spending drops
Published: 01:00 pm Jun 30, 2019