Tourist arrivals continue to surge in Nepal

Visitors to Nepal by air in June 2004 increased by 5 percent compared to same period last year, while the market segments viz. third country grew by 31 percent and Indians went down by 8 percent, the Nepal’s Department of Immigration said.

The Immigration Department stated that half way through 2004 (January-June), visitor’s number grew by 37 percent compared to first six months of 2003, reaching the total of 149,556 visitors. This is contributed by 48 percent increase in third country visitor arrivals and 18 percent growth in Indian visitors.

In June, however, the arrivals from India observed the first ever decline for the year. This is largely due to the non-availability of some regular air seats in the Indo-Nepal sector. According to industry sources, transporters strike called during June 1-4th, Bandh called on June 2nd and further confusion of Bandhs led to series of cancellations in June. However, with the recent addition of two new private airlines from India, it is widely speculated that the figures are subject to grow rapidly July onwards.

In the third country segment, the major markets for Nepal, the Japanese and American ascended by 12 percent and 34 percent respectively. The European market if taken in a single segment with countries like Germany, France, Netherlands, Austria, UK, Belgium, Norway, Switzerland, Spain and Italy, a growth of 80 percent could be seen for June 2004. But this growth is largely due to the smaller base in 2003 June, when visitors number had sharply declined.

NTB CEO Mr. Tek Bahadur Dangi, commenting on the figures said that, half-year growth indicates a promising year ahead. With the present welcoming climate for tourists within the country and more airlines flying into Nepal, he assured that the growth rate would continue for the rest of the year too.

In comparison to 1999 June, when the arrival numbers was 27,728, the figures of last month are still low by 33 percent.

author: eTN staff – your news source for the travel and tourism industry.

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