More tourists have arrived in Nepal since January than in all of 2021. In 2021, the Nepal Tourism Board (NTB) registered over 150,000 foreign visitors. For example, in May 2022 alone, NTB counted nearly 53,608 tourists. However, the number of arrivals remains much lower than before the pandemic. In 2019, Nepal received a total of 1.3 million foreign tourists arriving by air. This does not include those arriving overland from India. It is estimated that 1 tourist visit creates 10 jobs in Nepal.
According to the Nepal Rastra Bank, the tourism sector employs about 20 percent of Nepal’s labor force and contributes 3 percent of the gross domestic product (GDP).
The declining number of tourists, especially from China, proved to be a major factor in the overall decline, as China remained the second largest source market after India for Nepal’s tourism industry for more than a decade until 2020, the data show.
Since January, only 1,626 Chinese citizens have visited Nepal, compared to 169,543 tourists in 2019.
Before the pandemic, China was one of the main sources of tourism in Nepal, but strict measures to combat the pandemic are preventing the influx of tourists from China. Before the pandemic, there were four direct flights from China.
On June 2, 2022, Nepal started its first direct flight from China to Nepal after more than two years.
The director of the council said that the number of tourists would rise sharply if China resumed flights.
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“Nepal’s tourism sector has certainly suffered, our economy is heavily dependent on tourism. I am very pleased to report that after the third wave ended and things started to improve, our numbers began to grow very quickly. As in the past, India is leading the way in this way, we get a lot of Indian tourists, they come in huge numbers. One thing that is very interesting about the Indian market is that they used to come only for religion and shopping, but now we have a huge segment of Indians. come for adventure,” Nandini Lahe Thapa, director of the Nepal Tourism Board, told WION.
Speaking of the challenges the country is facing during the recovery of the tourism sector, “it was very difficult for the industry to cope with all the losses. There has been some brain and skill drain over the years because many of our skilled employees have relocated. to other countries such as Maldives, Middle East. Now the question is who is there and training to build the capacity of new people,” she added.
Nepal’s tourism and hospitality industry continues to face staffing shortages as most employees left the sector during the pandemic.
Many guides and attendants have either changed professions or left the country in search of work.
NTB said the tourism sector will gradually recover as more workers return. However, people are still worried…