‘Rethinking Tourism’ 2022The challenging economic environment including high inflation and the spike in oil prices, aggravated by the Russia-Ukraine war, continues to be the main factor weighing on the recovery of tourism.
International tourism continued to show strong signs of recovery, with arrivals reaching 60 percent of pre-pandemic levels in the first seven months of 2022, according to the latest United Nations World Tourism Organisation report.
In 2020, Nepal had just launched an ambitious Visit Nepal Year campaign with much fanfare, aiming to attract at least 2 million tourists, only to have to abandon the programme after the incipient pandemic exploded into worldwide proportions. The disastrous year ended with 230,085 arrivals.
Following a difficult end to 2020, Nepal’s tourism suffered further setbacks as countries tightened travel restrictions in response to new virus outbreaks.
In 2021, the number of foreign visitors entering the country totalled 150,962.
Nepal’s tourism industry in 2021 sank to its lowest in four and a half decades and revenues hit rock bottom, making a big dent in the country’s economy.
As of August, Nepal had received 326,667 tourists. The figure is expected to touch half a million by the end of this year.
The steady recovery reflects strong pent-up demand for international travel as well as the easing or lifting of travel restrictions to date (86 countries had no Covid-19-related restrictions as of 19 September 2022).
The challenging economic environment including high inflation and the spike in oil prices, aggravated by the Russia-Ukraine war, continues to be the main factor weighing on the recovery of tourism, according to experts.
The celebration of World Tourism Day comes at a time when tourism is being acknowledged as a vital pillar of development.