Growth spurt predicted for hospitality industryNepal’s hospitality industry has suffered myriads of problems in the past years, and is still struggling to recover from the repercussion; yet the industry has optimistic projections.
Nepal’s hospitality industry has suffered myriads of problems in the past years, and is still struggling to recover from the repercussion; yet the industry has optimistic projections.
The Kathmandu Valley is on course to add 4,000 hotel rooms by 2018-19, with a number of five- and four-star properties currently under construction, according to the Hotel association of Nepal (HAN).
The umbrella body of hotel operators said by the next three years, the Valley would see 16,000 room nights that could accommodate nearly 6 million tourists annually.
Moreover, about half a dozen of globally known hotel brands, including Marriott, Aloft, Sheraton, have signed management contracts with Nepali entrepreneurs to establish their presence in Nepal. “Besides Kathmandu, Pokhara, Chitwan and Bhairahawa are set to see a dramatic growth,” said BK Shrestha, president of HAN, speaking at a programme here on Thursday.
Industry insiders say close to 10,000 rooms are under development in major tourist cities across the country, of which 6,000 are located outside the Valley. Investment in the sector has been witnessing a sudden spurt after the government announced plans to attracting two million visitors by 2020. “To make the dreams come true, Nepal needs to be promoted aggressively in the global market,” he said. “However, promotion alone will not work. Aircraft and airport are key to increasing the visitor numbers.”
Shrestha said strengthening the national flag carrier, Nepal Airlines, would be crucial to realising the dream to make Nepal prosperous through tourism. “In fact, Nepal Airlines’ plans to add two long-range jets by the next year is a welcome move.”
After a high of 1999, tourist arrivals in Nepal started to slump, first by the 9/11 terrorist attacks and then by the escalation of the Maoist conflict in the country. Tourist arrivals continued to slide for three straight years from 2000 to 2002. There was a slight improvement in 2003 and 2004, but the arrivals again declined in 2005 when then king Gyanendra imposed his direct rule. It was the peace deal between the government and the Maoists that arrested this slump in 2006. The country had received 383,926 tourists in 2006. Post-2006, the tourism sector bounced back, with the figure crossing half a million mark to 526,705.
However, the arrivals were affected with frequent labour unrest, particularly in the hospitality industry, in 2008 and 2009. Hotel occupancy rates collapsed from 80-90 percent during the Maoist insurgency to almost 20 percent.
The industry bounced back in 2010 breaking all past records after the government announced Nepal Tourism Year 2011. The arrivals rose to 602,855 in 2010 and continued the upward trend with tourist figures touching 736,215 in 2011 and 803,092 in 2012.
The 2014 was the bumper year for hoteliers as almost all hotels in the country reported record-breaking profits. But again, 2015 earthquakes and subsequent trade embargo stopped the growth
HAN’s golden jubilee preps
KATHMANDU: The Hotel Association of Nepal (HAN) is preparing to celebrate the golden jubilee of its establishment. According to Binayak Shah, general secretary of HAN, a three-day gala event will begin on September 30 at
Hotel Soaltee. Under the theme of “Development of Hotel Industry in the Next Decade”, the event will bring together national and international hoteliers and tourism entrepreneurs, including representatives from the United Nations World Tourism Organization and the International Hotel and Restaurant Association. Among nine programmes planned, “Hotel Expo” that aims to publicise the development of hotels is expected be major attraction.