Kathmandu, July 19
The inflow of foreign tourists (via both air and land routes) in Nepal increased by 13 per cent in the first six months of 2018 as compared to the same period last year, according to Nepal Tourism Board (NTB).
As per the tourist inflow data compiled by NTB, 520,014 foreign tourists visited Nepal in between January and June this year against 460,304 foreigners visiting the country in the corresponding period of 2017.
Data show that tourists from India, China, the United States (US), the United Kingdom (UK) and Sri Lanka topped the foreign tourist arrival chart in Nepal. In the first half of 2018, Nepal received 96,372 Indian and 71,379 Chinese tourists. This is an increment in inflow of Indian and Chinese tourists by eight per cent and 37 per cent, respectively, compared to the corresponding period of the previous year.
Similarly, tourist arrivals from the US went up by 9.1 per cent to 43,816 in the first six months of 2018. However, inflow of tourists from the UK and Sri Lanka dropped by 7.1 per cent and 3.7 per cent to 27,792 and 18,890, respectively, in the first half of 2018 compared to the same period last year.
The NTB statistics show that more than 53 per cent of foreign tourists in Nepal hail from Asia while 19 per cent are from Europe.
Officials of NTB said that Nepal’s tourism industry has been gradually booming in recent years owing to political stability and different tourism-centric initiatives taken by the government and the private sector.
“Foreign tourists seem more interested to visit Nepal in the recent times. Similarly, we have been developing good tourism packages in the country and promoting Nepal’s tourism abroad aggressively,” said Deepak Raj Joshi, chief executive officer of NTB.
Nepal had received one million foreign tourists for the first time in 2017. The government has set a target to bring in two million foreign tourists per annum by 2020.
The government has already announced that it will observe ‘Visit Nepal 2020′ to promote the country’s tourism industry.
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A version of this article appears in print on July 20, 2018 of The Himalayan Times.