Asia’s fastest growing economy’s potential can be so far-reaching that even if less than one per cent of China’s total outbound tourists visited Nepal annually, the tourism industry would take a U-turn provided the Land of the Buddha can produce requisite facilities. Nepal’s casinos and world heritage sites can help lure the burgeoning neo riche tourists next door.

In 2006, Nepal received only 8,000 Chinese tourists. The absence of a Nepali diplomatic office in the trading hub of Guangzhou is reportedly hindering the inflow of tourists and businessmen from the northern neighbour. To obtain a visa, they have to either visit the Nepali consulate in Hong Kong or Shanghai or travel all the way to Beijing that unnecessarily adds up to the overheads. The arrivals could shoot up by two to three fold by just establishing a diplomatic office in Guangzhou. If not a consulate, at least, an honourary consul or some officials from Hong Kong or Shanghai could be deputed for visa facilitation. The China Southern Airlines can fulfill its target of bringing in 10,000 tourists this year with a well-thought-out promotion drive. But prior to that, the imperatives of infrastructural development and upgradation of facilities like transportation, hotels and restaurants, etc. will have to be completed. Training more guides and publishing advertisements in Chinese language could be more effective. With the adoption of a practical, realistic and business-like strategy, the required U-turn wouldn’t be a big deal.