Tourism keeps its shine

Kathmandu, September 9:

The positive trend in international tourist arrivals in Nepal continued for yet another month, as the month of August 2007 witnessed a growth of 18 per cent compared to the same month last year.

Total tourist arrivals by air touched 26,865 in August 2007, an increment by 18 per cent from 22,813 visitors last year, Nepal Tourism Board (NTB) reported, quoting data released by Immigration Office at Tribhuvan International Airport.

Although Indian arrivals posted a negative growth, European markets registered a healthy growth of 36 per cent in August. A total of 10,450 tourists from different European countries came to the country during the month, while the figure stood at 7,682 in August 2006.

It is generally considered as the low season for international tourist arrivals. However, visitors from some countries like Italy, Korea and Spain soared during the period.

Major European markets like UK (32.5 per cent), Germany (38.9 per cent), France (32.9 per cent), Italy (34.2 per cent) and Spain (46.4 per cent) registered healthy growths during the month.

Spanish (12.8 per cent) and Italian (7.6 per cent) markets cornered a large share of the total arrivals, lending a fair support to the lean season.

However, arrivals from Sweden and the Netherlands dropped by 53.2 per cent and 1.2 per cent, respectively.

Arrivals from SAARC region as a whole recorded a decline of 9.6 per cent due to the fall in arrivals from the major Indian market by 13.7 per cent, though other markets like Bangladesh, Pakistan and Sri Lanka showed commendable growths of 54.4 per cent, 30.2 per cent and 93 per cent, respectively.

Other Asian markets like China, Japan, S Korea, and Chinese Taiwan have shown robust growths of 88.2 per cent, 14.5 per cent, 91.7 per cent and 94.2 per cent, respectively. A total of 3,926 tourists arrived during the month from different Asian countries apart from SAARC region.

The US, Canadian and Australian markets also recorded strong growths of 50.1 per cent, 44.6 per cent and 43.2 per cent respectively, with 2,259 tourist arrivals from these countries.

According to figures of the first eight months of this year, total arrivals grew by 33.1 per cent to 220,076 visitors, compared to 165,312 arrivals in 2006.

India, USA, UK and Japan are in the top list of tourist generating markets with a share of 32.1 per cent, 6.7 per cent, 6.6 per cent and 5.8 per cent, of the total arrivals respectively.

It can be noted that the Chinese and Korean markets are getting stronger and their arrivals during the first eight months have grown by more than double, compared to the same period last year.

Thourism fraternity expects that arrivals in the coming months will become stronger because of the festival season.