Foreign arrivals in Nepal down nearly 35 pct in 2021
Kathmandu — Foreign arrivals in Nepal slumped by nearly 35 percent in 2021 as the South Asian country struggled to recover from a devastating impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, showed latest data from the Nepal Tourism Board.
Nepal welcomed 150,962 foreign tourists in 2021, a drop of 34.4 percent from 230,085 in 2020. While visitors from India and the United States increased handsomely, arrivals declined from almost all the other source markets including China.
A total of 64,673 Indian and 22,853 U.S. nationals visited Nepal in the past year, up 60.3 percent and 28.6 percent year on year, respectively, showed the tourism board figures.
A decline in tourist arrivals particularly from China turned out to be the major factor behind the overall slump, as China had remained the second largest source market after India for Nepal’s tourism industry for more than a decade till 2020, showed the data.
Only 6,196 Chinese tourists landed in Nepal in 2021, as regular passenger flights between the two neighbors had remained suspended over COVID-19.
While tourist arrivals fell, Nepal saw a good number of foreigners coming for mountaineering and trekking in the past year, with a record 408 permits issued for scaling the world’s highest Mt. Qomolangma alone.
“In 2021, as many as 34,000 foreigners visited Nepal for trekking purpose, far higher than 2020,” Khum Bahadur Subedi, president of Trekking Agencies’ Association of Nepal, told Xinhua.
“But the tourism industry as a whole continued to suffer in 2021 and the government needs to continue its policy of welcoming vaccinated foreign tourists to ensure the survival of the industry,” said Subedi.