237,696 foreign tourists have visited Nepal in the last 6 months dated from January to June via Tribhuvan International Airport.
The tourism industry in Nepal which was the hardest hit industry with COVID is finally witnessing imperative growth this year showing signs of positive revival. Fingers crossed though.. The statistics shared by the Ministry of Tourism and Department of immigration shows around 237,696 foreign tourists have visited Nepal in the last 6 months dated from January to June via Tribhuvan International Airport. However, the data does not include the Indian tourists who have traveled through the land border. Comparatively speaking, the total number of tourist arrival in Nepal in 2021 was 150,962 only including 337 arrivals from the Land border. Tourist trend in the same month last year and this year shows more than 150% increase in arrival. If we take April of 2021, which was the highest arrival in 2021 compared with April 2022, we come up with a 156.83% increase. Comparisons in June show a 3855.14% increase which is ridiculous.
We certainly agree that comparing arrivals in the year 2021 or 2020 when COVID-19 was in full swing in Nepal and throughout the world is not fair. So, we have taken the privilege of comparing it with 2019, which was the highest tourist arrival year to date in Nepal to see where we stand right now.
We can perceive that we were around 79% behind in January. However, with the increase in tourist arrivals, we are around 30% than 2019 bridging the gap slowly. Interestingly, this was before COVID with the highest tourist arrival to date. The data from 2019 and 2021 includes all tourist arrivals whereas the 2022 data does not include land arrivals. If we add the data on land arrivals, we are sure, we are doing far better than anticipated.
Here is the monthly data of foreign tourists arriving in Nepal in 2019, 2021, and 6 months of 2022 compared.
The number of foreign tourists visiting Nepal has significantly increased in the past six months as Covid-related travel restrictions have been gradually removed. The result as such in the flow of tourists even in the off-season time in Nepal. As usual, the highest number of tourist arrivals are from India and the United States, Bangladesh, the United Kingdom, and Australia follow as the top contributors to Nepal’s tourism industry.
Similarly, as the pandemic-induced restrictions led to the closure of public places, including gyms, those trying to stay fit searched places on trails around Kathmandu Valley wherein hiking became a new fad for not just fitness enthusiasts but also equally to those who wanted to spend time with friends and families outdoors. In the last two years, popular hiking trails—Shivapuri National Park, Kakani, Phulchowki, Nagarkot, Sundarijal, Champadevi, and Chisapani, among others—in and around the Valley have seen an increase in the footfall of hikers making their way into the wild. Shivapuri National Park covers an area of 118 square kilometers, and over the years it has become a significant hiking destination for locals and tourists alike. According to the data from Shivapuri National Park, nearly 2,000 tourists visit the park during weekends.
Comprehensively, we firmly believe that the Tourism Industry in Nepal is on its way to recovery. It might take a year or two, but we know we will be back stronger. Additionally, domestic tourism which bloomed during the COVID times has not slowed down a bit contributing vigorously every day to thrive the Industry back into shape.
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.