Tourist arrivals in Nepal surge

By Binod Prasad Adhikari (ANI) | Updated: Apr 20, 2018 12:24 IST

Bhaktapur [Nepal], April 19 (ANI): Ramesh Pandey is a vendor operating in and around the World Heritage city of Bhaktapur, making attempts to sell his flutes.

The area which was always abuzz with tourists before being destroyed by the terrible earthquake of April 2015, is making attempt to recover with the help of tourism-related schemes. But it does not seem to be favourable for sellers at present.

"Previously, I use to sell about ten flutes. Currently, it is almost zero. I hardly can sale one flute," laments Pandey while wandering in the ancient palace area.

The sales of items might have dropped, but tourist arrivals to Nepal are on the growth path since last year.

Data from the Department of Immigration (DoI) released early this year shows tourist arrivals in Nepal nearing the one million target set by the government. As per DoI statistics, 940,218 tourists arrived in Nepal in 2017.

"The locals here are co-operative, things here are quite good to see and observe. Wood carvings here date back to a long time and I felt good to see all these things here," Padam Bir Shahi told ANI.

Indians traveling by air to Nepal formed the bulk of tourist arrivals at 160,832, followed by the Chinese (104,664), Americans (79,146), British (51,058) and Sri Lankans (45,361).

In the first quarter of 2018, tourist arrivals to Nepal surged by 18.1 percent when compared to the same period in 2017. The number of Indian tourists stood at 15.2 percent, while from Bangladesh, it was 35.3 percent, Sri Lanka (3.6 percent) and Pakistan (20.5 percent) as per Nepal Tourism Board (NTB) data.

Mahammad Sahid, a tourist, said, "It is wonderful to see that Nepal and the cities that were affected by the earthquake are recovering and making very good progress. But unfortunately, we can see the difference between the (newly) constructed buildings and the old buildings. But we love the culture, we love the architecture and we love the food. Some of the infrastructure like the roads, the traffic and the pollution are issues for visitors, but otherwise, we are having a very wonderful time." (ANI)