Saturday, July 17, 2010

Tourist arrivals in Nepal increased but length of stay decreased

According to the Economic Survey 2009-10, the number of tourist arrivals in Nepal increased but the duration of stay decreased.

The survey revealed that in 2009, among the arrivals, 34 percent came for recreational purpose. In 2008, this figure was 29.6 percent. On an average, tourist arrival increased by 1.9 percent in 2009 in Nepal but average length of stay declined to 11.6 days in 2009 compared to 11.8 days in 2008.

Tourism is the biggest foreign currency earning sector in Nepal. Every year, large number of tourists visits the country. A large portion of these tourists come for trekking and mountaineering.

Prachanda Man Shreshtha, CEO, Nepal Tourism Board, said, “The significant rise in the number of visitors coming for recreation is a result of the increasing options for leisure activities in Nepal.”

The survey also revealed a slight increase of 10.4 percent from 9 percent in 2008 in the number of visitors coming for pilgrimage in 2009. Tourists coming for trekking and mountaineering accounted for 20.9 percent of the total number of tourists who visited Nepal in 2009.

Tourists started to stay longer in Nepal in 2006 after the peace accord which ended the Maoist conflict. However, due to political instability, strikes, and bandhs, the number declined. The hotels also suffered labor unrest in 2009 which also forced many visitors to cut short their tours.

Rajy Bikram Shah, General Manager, Shangri-La Hotel, blamed the economic recession which forced vacationers to go for shorter holidays. David Yonjan of Yeti Travels said that there had not been any drastic change and the length of the stay depends of the tour package.

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