Tourist arrivals dip by 12.2pc

Kathmandu, September 4 :

Following growth for two consecutive months, tourists arriving in Nepal by air decreased by 12.2 per cent in August 2006 compared to the same period last year.

Total tourists arrivals dropped mainly due to a sharp decline of 23.9 per cent in Indian arrivals during the month. Third country arrivals also went down by 3.9 per cent, states figures released by the ministry of culture, tourism and civil aviation quoting the immigration office at Tribhuvan International Airport, Kathmandu.

A total of 22,813 visitors entered Nepal during the month against 25,974 tourists in August 2005. Tourist arrivals via air had registered a growth of 7.2 per cent last month and 13.8 months a month before that.

Including India, losses came from other SAARC and Asian markets too with the only exception from Japan showing some incremental gains. Bangladesh, another promising performer till last August too declined by a whopping 58.7 per cent. The Chinese market suffered by 27.4 per cent, with the rest of the South East Asia except Malaysia (3.1 per cent) and Thailand (51.9 per cent) showing some increment. Unlike the trends from majority of the markets, the European segment gained by 1.4 per cent. The Spanish market with its 10 per cent market share grew by 18.6 per cent, while UK arrivals went up by 3.9 per cent.

Street protests that took place recently in Kathmandu could have caused the decline in the neighbouring market as per the comments of some travel trade operators. The non-Indian market however is comparatively consistent and gradually rising.