Tourism, one of Nepal’s mainstays, is gradually resuming normalcy after being battered by the COVID-19 pandemic for nearly two years.
This spring season saw a significant number of foreign tourists arrive in Nepal, with a total of 42,006 tourists arriving via air route in March alone. During the same time period last year, 14,977 foreign tourists visited Nepal.
According to the Department of Tourism’s statistics, Nepal has received a total of 78,747 foreign tourists from January to the end of March this year.
The government has formed a Tourism Revival Steering Committee, chaired by the Minister of Tourism, Culture, and Civil Aviation, tasked with undertaking initiatives for tourism industry revival such as exploring new possibilities, identifying and promoting the tourism industry, and creating an enabling investment climate in the tourism sector, among other things.
To that end, the Nepal Tourism Board (NTB) has been holding Travel Marts in each of the country’s seven provinces. The Fewa Festival will take place on April 13-14. For ten days, a team of foreign chefs led by MasterChef UK contest winner Santosh Shah will travel to various destinations and participate in tourism promotional events, with a special emphasis on culinary tourism.
According to Mahesh Phuyal, general manager of Ramada Encore, a 4-star hotel in Thamel, Kathmandu, Ramada has recently had 70 percent occupancy. The majority of the 90-room hotels’ guests are Americans, Indians, and Europeans, according to Phuyal.
The influx of foreign tourists has energized tourism entrepreneurs in Pokhara, one of the country’s most popular tourist destinations. According to Bharatra Parajuli, a local entrepreneur, tourism entrepreneurs like him are encouraged by the growing number of tourism activities in Pokhara.
He stated that the development and promotion of adventurous tourism destinations in and around Pokhara, which is known for its lakes and natural landscapes, had aided in the growth of the country’s tourism.
Similarly, Acting President Binayak Shah of the Hotel Association of Nepal (HAN) stated that hotels in Pokhara have recently received a high volume of inquiries. After two years of pandemic-induced crisis, he believes tourism is gradually reviving in Nepal.
Similarly, former vice-president of the Trekking Agencies Association of Nepal (TAAN) Nilhari Bastola suggested that in order to revive tourism in Nepal, the government of Nepal should spread the message that Nepal is ready and open for tourists, which could be done through foreign ambassadors and consuls stationed in Nepal. He also advised the government to devise enticing packages such as free visas for a month, among other things, to increase the influx of foreign tourists.
Dr. Dhananjay Regmi, CEO of the NTB, stated that the number of tourists from India and Bangladesh had increased significantly as a result of the Board’s targeted promotional events in these countries. In agreement with Shah, Regmi stated that tourism in Nepal, which had been hampered by COVID-19, was gradually returning to normalcy. He emphasized the importance of making it easier for Indian tourists to enter Nepal via various border crossings.