Kathmandu, Dec 27 (PTI) Nepal received one million foreign tourists in 2023, with Indians being the highest number of visitors to the Himalayan nation where the tourism sector was badly affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, a senior official said on Wednesday.
Maniraj Lamichhane, director of the Nepal Tourism Board (NTB), said that the target of bringing in one million foreign tourists in 2023 has been achieved, MyRepublica newspaper reported.
"There are still a few days left in December. However, the government's target was achieved three days ago. This is the highest number of arrivals since 2019," said Lamichhane. "It has added excitement to the tourism sector." All these are foreign visitors who entered by air.
For the first time since 2019, the tourism sector, which was badly affected by the coronavirus infection, has risen to this size.
Due to the coronavirus pandemic, the arrival of foreign guests was affected until the previous year. Previously, the highest number of foreign guests entered Nepal in 2019. In 2022, this figure was 614,148. In 2021, 150,962 foreign guests entered Nepal. The number of foreign visitors entering Nepal in 2020 was 230,085, the paper said.
"The tourism sector that was weakened by the Covid-19 pandemic has recovered in a short time. If we could do better marketing, the arrival would have increased this year,” said Lamichhane.
He said that if international flights are resumed from the international airports operating in Pokhara and Bhairahawa, the number of arrivals will further increase.
"It is not that the tourism sector has not been affected due to some conflicts at the international level, but the target set by the government for this year has been fulfilled," he said.
According to him, among those who entered Nepal in 2023, the highest share was 30 per cent of Indian guests. He said that although the size of Indian guests entering Nepal is around 20 per cent, Indian arrivals have increased significantly this year.
According to him, the number of Indian guests who entered Nepal in 2019 was 254,000, but now it has exceeded 300,000.
Similarly, in 2019, the number of American tourists was 93,000, but this year, around 100,000 arrived. "The arrival of guests from American, Chinese and other countries has also increased," he said.
While unveiling his achievements in the first year of the government, Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal “Prachanda” on Tuesday said that the Nepal government has achieved success in receiving tourists. PTI SBP AMS ZH AMS