Nepal''s tourist arrivals dip for first time in 4 years
From Shirish B Pradhan
Kathmandu, Feb 4 (PTI) For the first time in four years, Nepal has witnessed a sharp 16 per cent dip in tourist arrival via air in January this year due to lukewarm response from Indian visitors and on-going political crisis in the Himalayan nation.
The figures released by Immigration Office, Tribhuvan International Airport (TIA) shows that the tourist arrivals reached 35,330 with 15.9 per cent of decline in January this year compared to the same month last year with 42,031 arrivals, according to the Nepal Tourism Board.
Major source markets have recorded negative growths in tourist arrivals in the first month of 2013.
India which constitutes the major market of Nepal, has recorded negative growth of 26.1 per cent.
In January a total of 7,548 tourists arrived from India by air as compared to 10,216 tourists visited in January last year, according to the NTB.
Arrivals from Bangladesh and Sri Lanka have also registered negative growth by 62.6 per cent and 42.6 per cent respectively.
In the SAARC region only Pakistan has recorded positive growth of 5.8per cent.
Arrivals from other Asian countries have also recorded negative growth of 16.4 per cent in aggregate with mixed results.
The visitor''s arrivals from China have decreased by 40.3 per cent.
However, the arrivals from Japan, Singapore, Thailand, Malaysia and South Korea have increased by 16.8 per cent, 10.3 per cent, 4.3 per cent, 42.6 per cent and 11.2 per cent respectively.
An overall negative growth of 15 per cent has been observed from the European markets with arrivals from major generating markets such as Germany, France and the Netherlands down by 12.2 per cent, 38.2 per cent, and 29 per cent respectively.
However, the arrivals from the UK has increased by 6.6 per cent compared to the same month last year.
Tourist arrivals from Australia, New Zealand and USA have registered growths of 27.3 per cent, 25 per cent, and 13 per cent respectively.
A negative growth of 27.4 per cent has been recorded from Canada in January 2013 compared to January 2012.
Tourism is the largest industry in Nepal, and the largest source of foreign exchange and revenue for the land-locked nation.