Flow of tourists and their stay fell slightly in the period between mid-December 2013 to mid-December 2014, when compared to the corresponding period of the previous year, as per the Economic Survey.

Altogether 790,118 tourists visited Nepal in the review period, which is 0.9 per cent less than the previous year and the average stay of the foreign visitors to Nepal fell to 12.44 days from 12.57 days.

The data highlights the challenges facing Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation (MoCTCA) in achieving the target of Tourism Vision 2020, which aims to bring 1.34 million international tourists per annum by 2019 and increase their average stay to 15 days.

However, significant efforts have been made from the government and also from the private sector to revive the tourism industry that has been shattered by the devastating earthquake of April 25.

On the brighter side, income from tourism has increased. The country’s income from tourism amounted to Rs 46.38 billion in the review period compared to Rs 34.21 billion recorded in the corresponding period of the previous year, according to the survey.

“The country had been able to tap the high yield tourists compared to the previous year. Spending of the tourists per day stood at $46.4 against $42.8 in the previous year.”

The tourism sector’s contribution to the economy had also increased to 2.6 per cent in the review period compared to two per cent of the previous year.

The number of hotel beds (in tourist standard hotels) increased by 1,608 and reached 26,625. In addition, a star hotel had commenced its operation in the review period and the number of beds in star hotels increased by 48 and reached 9,554.

The number of Indian tourists accounted for 17 per cent of total tourists flow, Chinese (16 per cent), the United States (six per cent), Sri Lanka (4.8 per cent) and United Kingdom (4.7) per cent, as per Economic Survey.

“More than half of the tourists who visited Nepal in the review period came for leisure, followed by pilgrimage (12.5 per cent), trekking (12.3 per cent), administrative and formal visits (4.1 per cent), business-related (3.1 per cent), meeting/seminar (1.7 per cent) and other purposes (16.2 percent).”