Nepal to play host to two million foreign tourists by 2020

POKHARA: A statistic report shows that 1,060,000 foreign tourists visited Nepal last year in the aftermath of 2015 earthquake.

Chief Executive Officer of Nepal Tourism Board (NTB), Deepak Raj Joshi unveiled the statistics in an interaction programme organised by NTB Pokhara today. According to Joshi, NTB is moving ahead with the aim of increasing the number of foreigner tourists visiting the country to two million. He said, "Although the earthquake has damaged national heritage in some districts affecting the overall improvement in tourism sector of the country, the number of foreign tourists visiting Nepal increased last year."

Addressing the interaction, a tourism entrepreneur Ganesh Bhattarai stressed the need of developing tourism based on quality rather than quantity of tourists visiting Nepal. He emphasised the importance of creating an environment that is conducive to attracting tourists who could spend and invest more in the country.

The number of foreign tourists visiting Nepal in the aftermath of 2015 earthquake had dropped drastically. According to official statistics of Nepal Tourism Board, around 753,000 tourists visited Nepal in 2016. Only 539,000 tourists had visited Nepal in 2015 while there were 790,000 tourists in 2014 and 736,000 in 2013.

On the occasion, a parliamentary member Rabindra Adhikari said the government would process to expedite road construction as well as under-construction airports and development of water resources. He claimed that development in the region would gain momentum with the formation of new government.

Likewise, Secretary at the Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation, Maheshwar Neupane said that the government aims of playing host to two million foreign tourists by 2020. He said the government is moving ahead with the policy for the reconstruction of physical infrastructures and cultural heritage.

Chairperson of Trekking Agencies' Association of Nepal (TAAN) Western Regional Association Pokhara, Deepak Adhikari said, "The government is reluctant to assist the development of tourism sector despite the fact that the sector is the base for the economic development of the country."