There are indications that the government’s target of attracting 2 million tourists to Nepal in the year 2020 will be pushed in the first month. Due to the appearance of corona virus in China and its impact on various countries, it is seen that the target of Nepal Tourism Year will be pushed. About 30 percent of the foreign tourists visiting Nepal are Chinese nationals. Among the foreign tourists visiting Nepal, Chinese tourists are second only to Indians.
According to the Tourism Board, 169,000 Chinese tourists entered Nepal in 2019. This is 3 percent more than in 2018. In 2017, the number of Chinese tourists visiting Nepal was limited to around 0.1 million. Recently, with the increase in the number of Chinese tourists in Nepal, the tourism sector was excited. In the midst of this enthusiasm, the government announced the year of visit 2020. However, the Tourism year has not started yet .The corona virus epidemic in major markets in China has led to a complete halt in Chinese tourist arrivals. However, this situation will not last long, say stakeholders. Tourists say that with the control of Corona, a conducive environment is gradually being created.
Khum Subedi, president of the Trekking Association of Nepal (TAN), says China’s current problems will not go away for a long time and the environment will gradually become more conducive. Instead, he said, the government of Nepal and stakeholders should find alternative solutions to solve the current problem immediately.”The tourism sector has been disrupted by China. We have to look for alternatives instead of saying that it is over,” said Subedi. He also said that alternative routes should be arranged for third country tourists coming through China (transit). He said that the government should take the initiative for this.
“China is not the only tourist market in Nepal. We should not pretend that Nepal’s tourism sector will not function without Chinese tourists,” he said. Earlier, Chinese tourists did not come. For this, the government should formulate alternative strategies in other areas.According to the latest statistics of the Immigration Department, 12,040 Chinese nationals have arrived in Nepal from Tribhuvan International Airport in January alone. This number is from January 1 to 25.During this period, an average of 482 Chinese citizens have come to Nepal every day. But when the Corona outbreak hit China, that number plummeted. On January 26, 27 and 28, only around 300 Chinese tourists have come to Nepal for three days. After that, the arrival of Chinese tourists has come to a standstill.
50 percent hotel booking canceled
Chinese tourists have stopped coming to China after the Nobel Corona virus took the form of an epidemic. All China-Nepal flights have been canceled. Hotel, lodge and restaurant business has slowed down.About 50 percent of the bookings of the booked hotels have been canceled. Sajan Shakya, general secretary of the Hotel Entrepreneurs’ Association (HAAN), told Ratopati that only 20-25 percent of the bookings were canceled by Chinese groups.
Nepal’s tourism sector is in turmoil due to the corona visor seen in China. Up to 50 percent of hotel bookings have been canceled since the arrival of Chinese tourists. In which not only Chinese but also tourists from countries connected with China and European countries have stopped coming to Nepal, ‘said General Secretary Shakya. He says that not only the tourism year but also the hotel business of Nepal will be quadrupled. According to Shakya, the government of Nepal, Tourism Year Secretariat, Tourism Board and other tourism entrepreneurs are now looking for alternatives to China to improve the tourism business. To improve the tourism business, a policy has been adopted to focus on SAARC countries. A strategy is being formulated to attract tourists by giving concessions even in the current air fares. Discussions are underway among the concerned bodies for that.
The halt in Chinese tourist arrivals and the decline in the number of tourists from European countries have posed a major challenge to the goal of attracting 2 million tourists a year.The outbreak of the corona virus is still rampant and will continue to plague the country for a few more months, so there is no immediate improvement in tourist arrivals.However, the government, which had earlier celebrated the Tourism Year, had not been able to attract tourists as per the target.
Chairman of TAN, Khum Subedi says that a maximum of 1.3 million tourists will enter Nepal this year. He said that it would be possible to attract 1.3 million tourists a year from Tribhuvan International Airport on the basis of air travel, capacity and market.‘Not all tourists are as soon as the plane lands at the airport. The core foreign nationals who come for the purpose of spending are the real tourists. But such numbers are rare, ‘he said,’ there are also Nepalis coming from outside. That includes some NRNs. ‘He said that the number of tourists entering Nepal would be 12-13 lakh annually.
Chairman of UNITRA Center Committee ,Suman Parajuli also says that the goal of the tourism year will not be achieved. He said that despite the weak infrastructure, the drum of the year was beating, adding that the corona virus seen in China has added to the challenge.The government has set a target of attracting 2 million tourists. But that doesn’t seem likely, “Parajuli said.” The Corona epidemic in China has added to the challenge. This has raised fears that the number of tourists will reach even the average of last year. ‘According to Parajuli, the current state of tourism infrastructure and social security is also causing problems in tourist arrivals. He said that despite the introduction of the Social Security Act on tourism security and portals, there are still problems in its implementation.