Tourist flow to return to normal only next year


The international tour operators have warned that negative travel advisory notice from various source countries and high insurance charges could dissuade tourists from visiting Nepal.

The statement comes at a time when the government, tourism entrepreneurs and Nepal Tourism Board (NTB) — the tourism promotion body set up in public-private partnership model — are gearing up to restore tourist inflow to the level of pre-earthquake days by the beginning of autumn season this year.

The tour operators have reported of receiving 40 to 75 per cent cancellations on bookings from travellers after the earthquake.

According to Robin Boustead of the Great Himalayan Trail Alliance, those who plan to visit Nepal book their trip at least six months in advance, which is why chances of restoring the flow of tourists this autumn are slim.

Moreover, the cost of insurance has also gone up by four times — average policy costs $300 — after the massive avalanche in Everest after May 2014. What is more, the insurance would not cover the residents of the countries that have issued negative travel advisory notice.

After the devastating earthquake, European nations have issued such travel advisories. Apart from India and Japan, a majority of the source countries have termed Nepal as ‘a mild risky destination’ to visit.

In the programme organised by Samarth — the UK aid funded market development programme — most of the international tour operators have said that tourist flow can be restored only by spring season of 2016.

In Nepal, March to May and September to November are two peak tourist seasons. Altogether, 800,000 tourists visit Nepal every year.