Tourist arrivals drop

Kathmandu, October 9:

The number of tourists coming to Nepal by air in the month of September this year went down by 7.4 per cent as compared to the same period last year.

Nepal Tourism Board (NTB) citing information released by the immigration office at Tribhuvan International Airport under the ministry of culture, tourism and civil aviation, the number of visitors by air in September came down to 25,484, marking a 7.4 per cent decline in comparison to the same month last year.

The decline was observed in both market segments; Indian by 17.4 per cent and non-Indian by 2.6 per cent. Though September to November is the main tourist season for the country, this decline indicates tourists are still in state of confusion over travelling to Nepal.

In terms of various originating markets, the number of visitors from SAARC and other Asian countries went down during the month as arrivals from Bangladesh plummeted by 54.5 per cent, while Chinese arrivals went down by 13.8 per cent.

Except South Korea, which went up by 48.1 per cent, rest of the Asian markets including Japan (-0.6 per cent), Malaysia (-11.5 per cent), Singapore (-44.3 per cent), Taiwan (-53 per cent) and Thailand (45.6 per cent) went down.

Arrivals from European countries showed a marginal loss of 2.8 per cent while the major contributors like French, German and Spanish markets remained positive with gains of 4.3 per cent, 2.2 per cent and 19.5 per cent, respectively. The other major contributor from Europe, the United Kingdom, however declined by 14.5 per cent along with Italy (-9.9 per cent) and the Netherlands (-5.5 per cent).

Arrivals from Australia on the other hand went up by 38.9 per cent while the US market continued to show progress with 22.6 per cent rise. “September 2006 marked a mixed performance in terms of arrivals to Nepal. Interestingly, the long-haul markets have gained substantially like US, Australia and Spain while the neighbouring regional markets have registered negative growth,” states a statement issued by the NTB.

It further says, “The mark up in long-haul segment is a clear indication of returning consumer confidence towards the destination. This is certainly contributed by the improvement in the security and safety image of the country as well as absence of negative stories about Nepal.” Despite the apparent decline, a number of hotels and airlines reported high occupancy rate and tourism attractions within Nepal have observed an influx of tourist.