The monthly tourist arrivals by air posted a record in October, but as the Nepal Tourism Year 2011 (NTY 2011) draws to an end, meeting its target seems to be farfetched.
According to Immigration Office, Tribhuwan International Airport (TIA), visitor arrivals in October touched a record 73,264 — an increment by 16.8 per cent compared to the same month last year — for the first time in the tourism history of Nepal.
However, the total arrivals this year — from January to October in 10 months — touched only 443,108, making it seem almost impossible to meet the target of hosting 700,000 by air, though the first 10 months arrivals recorded 21.7 per cent growth compared to the same period in 2010.
South Asian and Chinese arrivals have been continuously recording a sustained growth."The arrivals from SAARC region have shown positive growth of 19.4 per cent with India (up by 26.2 per cent) and Pakistan (up by 11.3 per cent) but arrivals from Bangladesh and Sri-Lanka declined by 10.2 per cent and 13 per cent, respectively, the data revealed, however, adding that a sustained growth of 33.7 per cent has been observed in the arrivals from the SAARC region during the first ten months of 2011 compared to the same period last year.
Similarly, Asia — except South Asian region — saw overall increase of 40 per cent in October. Except for Malaysia (down by one per cent), almost all the markets recorded positive growth with China (up by 105.9 per cent), Japan ( up by 7.3 per cent), Singapore (up by 5.7 per cent), South Korea (up by 29.4 per cent) and Thailand (up by 23.6 per cent) compared to the same month a year ago.
In the long haul markets, Europe registered overall positive growth of 15.1 per cent compared to the same month last year with total visitor arrivals of 34,166, highest of all on month-by month basis this year, though travel trade entrepreneurs were worried of the fall in European visitors in the beginning of the year.
Arrivals from Belgium, Denmark, Germany, Italy, Israel, Spain, Switzerland and UK were up by 18.2 per cent, 48.8 per cent,19.3 per cent, 25.5 per cent, 88.3 per cent, 20.7 per cent, 15.8 per cent, and 7.3 per cent, respectively, while, France and the Netherlands registered negative growth by 3.9 per cent and 17.1 per cent, respectively compared to the same month last year.
Similarly, the figures show overall decrease of 5.4 per cent from Oceania with Australia (down by 0.2 per cent) and New Zealand (down by 30.4 per cent). Likewise, Canada also recorded negative growth of 0.2 per cent whereas arrivals from the US of America were up by 5.4 per cent.
A total of 69,115 foreign tourists departed whereas 52,952 Nepalis departed from TIA in October but TIA recorded some 70,531 Nepalis arrivals.
Increment in arrivals
India — up by 42.4 per cent
China — up by 66.7 per cent
USA — up by 14.3 per cent
Germany — up by 11.2 per cent
UK — up by 6.6 per cent
France — up by 3.8 per cent
(First ten months of 2011 compared to the same period in 2010. Source: Nepal Tourism Board, NTB)