Tourist arrival growth encouraging

KATHMANDU: The month of June saw a rise in tourist air arrivals by six per cent to 23,222.

According to the Immigration Office, Tribhuvan International Airport (TIA), arrivals from Bangladesh, Pakistan and Sri Lanka grew by 16, four and seven per cent, respectively.

However, India, considered as a major market of Nepal, showed a decline of six per cent. Consequently, in aggregate, the SAARC segment showed a four per cent decline compared to last June.

Chinese arrivals increased by 17 per cent along with Thai (37 per cent), Malaysian (three per cent), South Korean (55 per cent) and Singaporean (eight per cent). The other Asian market to decline in June was Japan (four per cent). Other Asian segments registered a positive growth of 18 per cent.

By far the most encouraging results came from European markets, with an overall positive growth of 25 per cent. Arrivals from UK maintained the increasing trend with a growth of 15 per cent. Nepal’s major markets in West Europe: Germany, the Netherlands, Italy and Norway all posted significant increases of 27, 30, 34 and 17 per cent, respectively. However, France recorded a two per cent decrease in arrivals, data revealed.

Tourist arrivals from Australia, New Zealand, Canada and the US also registered positive growth of 27, five, 11and 21 per cent, respectively.

Nepal observed a remarkable growth of 15.8 per cent in April 2009 but suffered a trough in May with a decline of five per cent in the visitor arrivals. The increase in arrivals also shows that the global economic downturn has failed to deter the traveling spirit of tourists.

A total of 28,210 foreign tourists and 45,451 Nepalis departed via TIA while 40,337 Nepalis arrived via TIA in June.

Promotion in Tibet

KATHMANDU: At a promotional campaign jointly held by the Consulate General of Nepal in Lhasa, Nepal Tourism Board and China Tibet Tourism Bureau, an official from Nepal’s Consulate General promised 22 travel agencies that in the near future travel agencies in Tibet would be able to offer visa services to Chinese tourists who want to visit Nepal. “This is what we have been wanting all along,” said Liu Jin, sales manager of Tibet China International Travel Service. “Tibet and Nepal both have abundant tourism resources that are strongly complementary to each other.” According to Shrestha between 2006 and 2008, 5,00,000 tourists visited Nepal each year and seven per cent of these were from China. In 2008, Tibet welcomed more than three million domestic and foreign tourists. Nepal hopes the promotion will attract more people to visit the country by way of Tibet. Wang Songping, the director of the China Tibet Tourism Bureau, stated that Nepal is an important hub for Tibet’s tourist market, while Lhasa is also an important transit point for Chinese visiting Nepal via Tibet. Wang stated that the cooperation between the two regions would certainly be a success. — HNS