Tourists are gradually visiting the country after the government relaxed the rules and regulations put in place to limit the spread of the coronavirus infection.

Tourist arrivals had come to a screeching halt after the government imposed a nationwide lockdown on March 25. After the government allowed resumption of commercial international flights from September and announced foreigners would be permitted to visit from October, the tourist arrival is gradually increasing.

According to the Department of Immigration (DoI), the highest number of tourist arrivals after the flights were resumed was recorded in the month of January when a total of 8,874 tourists visited the country.

In December, 1,052 tourists had arrived in the country, 1,947 visited in November and 1,874 tourists had come in October.

Tourist arrivals have also increased in January along with the resumption of flight service between Nepal and India. According to the department, 4,028 tourists arrived just from India in January, while 1,877 tourists came from China.

Similarly, 874 tourists came to Nepal from the United States last month, while 136 tourists arrived from the United Kingdom. Tourists from 121 countries visited Nepal in the last month.

Stakeholders expect the coronavirus vaccination campaign to help the badly-affected tourism sector recover as well. "The increasing numbers of tourists show that people are willing to travel and that the vaccination rollout has made them feel safer," said Deepak Raj Joshi, former chief executive of the Nepal Tourism Board (NTB).

Travel restrictions and other measures put in place to contain the virus around the world have largely discouraged people from travelling. Otherwise, people are always eager to travel, he added.

"We have already seen a healthy tourist arrival in January. And it is sure that the numbers will increase in the coming days," he said, adding, "Tourist arrivals will go up by 200 per cent in 2021 compared to 2020."

He further said that the growing movement of domestic tourists after the lockdown has also given off the impression that Nepal is safe.

Meanwhile, according to the department, the number of Nepali nationals coming to Nepal from abroad in January was higher than the number of Nepalis going abroad.

Altogether 47,267 Nepalis returned home from various countries last month, while 39,946 Nepalis went abroad. According to the department, 56,141 passengers from different countries entered Nepal in January and 47,238 passengers left the country.

Top five source countries in January

Country Tourists

India 4,028

China 1,877

USA 874

UK 136

Turkey 113

Source: Department of Immigration