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Nepal Tourism Surges with Record-Breaking March Arrivals


Nepal celebrates a milestone with a remarkable surge in tourism, recording a record-breaking influx of 128,167 tourists in March alone, marking a 28.90% increase from the previous year. This resurgence signals a promising recovery for the country’s tourism industry.

There has been a remarkable resurgence in Nepal’s tourism sector, particularly evident in the surge of foreign tourist arrivals via air routes during the month of March.

In March alone, Nepal welcomed a record-breaking 128,167 tourists from various countries, marking the highest monthly influx in the past four years. This represents a significant 28.90% increase compared to the same period last year,when the figure stood at 99,426. These statistics exclusively pertain to air arrivals and do not include tourists entering Nepal through land routes.

The tourist season in Nepal typically starts in February, peaks in March and April, and then gradually decreases. After that, the monsoon season begins, resulting in a slight decrease in arrivals. According to the board, 30,698 tourists arrived from India in March. This is an increase of 18.5% compared to the same period last year. Chinese arrivals reached 12,092, marking a significant increase of 358% compared to the previous year when 2,635 Chinese tourists visited. In third place is the United States, with 10,763 arrivals, followed by the United Kingdom with 7,241 arrivals, as the Nepal Tourism Board reported.

Similarly, from Sri Lanka, 5,741 tourists arrived, from Germany 5,255, from Thailand 4,567, from Australia 3,240, and from Myanmar 3,031 tourists arrived. This year, 97,426 tourists arrived in February and 79,100 in January. According to this, 3, 46,693 tourists arrived in three months. On average, more than 1 lakh tourists arrive monthly.

The government’s target of welcoming over 1 million tourists in 2023 appears promising, following the successful achievement of the same milestone in 2022. In 2019, Nepal witnessed a 2.1% growth rate in foreign tourist arrivals, totaling 1,197,191 visitors compared to 1,173,072 in 2018. Initiatives like Nepal Tourism Year 2011 and Lumbini Tourism Year 2012 were launched, while Visit Nepal 2020 aimed for two million tourists by that year’s end. But in 2020 the tourism industry was affected due to COVID-19 all around the world and Nepal was also not untouched by that. Only 230,085 tourists could visit Nepal in 2020. In 2021 too, tourist arrivals continued to be affected by the pandemic, with only 150,962 foreign tourists visiting Nepal.

However in 2022, due to the decline in COVID-19 infection and many people being vaccinated, many tourism restrictions were lifted. As such, there was a significant rebound in tourism. According to data, Nepal received 614,869 tourists in 2022. This represents a substantial increase of over 300% compared to 2021. Tourism preferences in 2022 showed 64.7% visiting for holidays, 10.03% for adventure, 12.87% for religious purposes, and 12.39% for other reasons. Major tourist sources like the USA, UK, France, Spain, India, and Germany often target mountain climbing, favoring peaks like Mt. Everest, Ama Dablam, and Manaslu.

In a 2022 report by the World Bank, Nepal’s tourism sector accounted for approximately 6.7% of its GDP, with a total impact reaching US$2.2 billion. Furthermore, the report also mentions that in 2019, tourism played a crucial role in sustaining over one million direct and indirect jobs. Around 80% of these jobs are situated in the most distant and resource-limited areas. However, despite a notable rise in visitor numbers, tourism earnings have remained comparatively low when compared to rival destinations. In 2019, international visitors spent an average of US$48 per day, which is nearly half of the global average and one-third of the expenditures seen in Thailand and India.

The positive trend in tourist numbers continued in 2023. Data shows that Nepal welcomed 1,014,885 tourists in 2023, surpassing pre-pandemic levels. Nepal’s tourism faced setbacks post-2015 earthquakes and collapsed in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The upward trajectory witnessed in 2022 is now further reinforced by the encouraging start to 2023, highlighting the enduring allure of Nepal’s picturesque landscapes and cultural heritage on the global stage.

Executive Chairman - Temple Tiger Group of Companies | Website | + Articles

Basant Raj Mishra, the executive chairman of the Temple Tiger Group of Companies, is a well-known name in the travel trade community. Former chairman of the PATA Nepal Chapter, Secretary of PATA Nepal Chapter, Executive Member of PATA Nepal Chapter, Advisor of PATA Nepal Chapter and Founder Board of Nepal Association Tourism Board (NTB). Mr. Mishra is an energetic and visionary entrepreneur. A widely traveled entrepreneur, he also has been carrying out responsibilities as the Honorary Consul of Republic of Chile to Nepal. Mr. Mishra is a well known person in the field of tourism and conservation, having a lot of experiences in the cultural, adventure and wildlife tourism. Till date Mr. Mishra is very active, enthusiastic in promoting tourism and have served many National and International Board of Trustees. He is running his company very successfully for the last 34 years in Nepal and abroad. He received many national and international awards.