Nepal expects fillip from tourism promo in ChinaNepal expects to grab a larger share of the Chinese outbound travel market as China has announced Nepal Tourism Promotion Year 2017 in a bid to encourage its citizens to visit the Himalayan republic, the Nepal Embassy in Beijing said.
Nepal expects to grab a larger share of the Chinese outbound travel market as China has announced Nepal Tourism Promotion Year 2017 in a bid to encourage its citizens to visit the Himalayan republic, the Nepal Embassy in Beijing said.
Each year, 120 million Chinese vacationers head to foreign destinations to see the sights, which makes China the biggest tourism source market in the world.
Visitors from the northern neighbour are valued as they have helped to pull up Nepal’s tourism industry after arrivals from the traditional European markets started trailing off due to political instability and a wobbly economy.
Nepal has witnessed constant growth in Chinese tourist arrivals since June 2009. Arrivals plunged following the 2015 killer earthquake and India’s trade embargo, dampening the enthusiasm of tourism entrepreneurs who had got their hopes up because of the fast rising market.
The earthquake and embargo coming one after the other led to arrivals from China dropping to a four-year low of 66,984 individuals in 2015, down 45.89 percent from the 2014. Nepal received 123,805 Chinese visitors in 2014.
On December 25, 2015, Nepal announced free visa for Chinese tourists, giving them the same treatment accorded to Saarc visitors, in a bid to revive flagging arrivals. The free visa fee scheme was implemented last January. Despite the drop in arrivals, China remains Nepal’s second largest source of tourists.
According to Nepali ambassador to China Leela Mani Paudyal, he met Zhang Lizhong, director general of the International Department of the China National Tourism Administration (CNTA) last Wednesday and thanked the government of China for making such a vital decision to encourage its citizens to visit Nepal.
“The promotion year will help Nepal’s tourism market to revive that has been affected by the earthquake and the trade embargo in 2015,” the embassy said in a statement.
Paudyal said he was optimistic that Chinese arrivals to Nepal would grow substantially this year. He added that the embassy also held a meeting with tour operators, travel agents, media persons and advertising agencies to explore ways to market Nepal and attract more Chinese visitors.
The envoy said that inconvenient flight schedules and expensive airfares combined with the blockage of land routes due to earthquake induced landslides had resulted in the number of Chinese travellers dropping sharply last year from 2014.
He added that a rise in Chinese arrivals would enhance the possibility of greater Chinese investment in Nepal’s tourism industry.
Likewise, Director General Zhang said that Nepal could implement some of the tourism projects for development announced by Chinese President Xi Jinping during the World Tourism Conference in May last year by submitting proposals through the appropriate channel.
During the meeting, Zhang stated categorically that Chinese authorities had not issued any travel advisory telling Chinese citizens not to visit Nepal.
China has been the world’s largest outbound tourism market since 2012. According to the China Tourism Research Institute, China had 120 million outbound visitors in 2015 and they spent $104.5 billion, recording increases of 12 percent and 16.7 percent from 2014.
According to Osho World Travel, one of the leading travel agencies in Nepal, flight bookings on the Kunming-Kathmandu sector have been recorded at more than 80 percent from January to mid-February. China Eastern Airlines operates a daily flight on the sector.
Likewise, flight bookings on the Guangzhou-Kathmandu route have been recorded at more than 85 percent for January and 60 percent for February, said Deepak Basnet, ticketing executive of Osho World Travel. China Southern Airlines operates double daily flights on the route.