The year 2011 concluded with a record annual visitors by air, though the total arrivals will fall short of above 200,000 to meet target of hosting one million visitors under the national campaign Nepal Tourism Year 2011 (NTY 2011).
From January to December, the country saw some 544,985 arrivals by air, only 96,216 more than a year ago. Last year, some 448,769 visitors arrived by air and 154,067 visited the country by land making a total of 602,867.
The country has recorded a total of 719,547 visitors — 501,264 by air and 174,612 by land till November 2011, according to the according to Nepal Tourism Board (NTB) that compiled and analysed the data.
India and China -- the southern and northern neighbours -- followed by US remained the highest tourist generating markets for the year that witnessed encouraging Chinese tourist arrivals, more than double from a year ago. Some 5,156 Chinese visitors arrived Nepal by air in 2011 compared to 2,482 a year ago. But the Indian tourists posted a record arrivals of 12,686 compared to 2010's 10,063 visitors, revealed the figures released by Immigration Office, Tribhuvan International Airport (TIA).
The total visitor arrivals in December recorded 20.4 per cent increase to 43,721 compared to the same month in 2010. Similarly, the annual visitor arrivals increased by 21.4 per cent to 544,985, some 96,216 more visitors from 2010.
In December 2011, arrivals from Asia — except South Asia — recorded a positive growth of 31.5 per cent in aggregate with China (107.7 per cent), Japan (8.1 per cent) and South Korea (17.8 per cent). However, Malaysia, Singapore, and Thailand registered negative growth of 8.5 per cent, 11.9 per cent and 20.7 per cent, respectively compared to the same month last year.In the SAARC region, arrivals from India have grown by 26.1 per cent but arrivals from Pakistan Bangladesh and Sri Lanka declined by 19.2 per cent, 29 per cent and 40.7 per cent, respectively in December. In aggregate the South Asian segment has registered a positive growth of 13.3 per cent in December and 30.1 per cent in the whole year, it said.
The European markets generated 21.7 per cent monthly growth in December and 11.2 per cent annual growth, with arrivals from the UK, France, Germany, Italy, Belgium and Spain looking up by 12.3 per cent, 23.5 per cent, 13.6 per cent, 22.1 per cent, 50.7 per cent and 74.4 per cent respectively. However, the Netherlands, Austria and Poland posted a negative growth of 4.2 per cent, 45.7 per cent and 20 per cent respectively, the data revealed.
Tourist arrivals from Australia, New Zealand, Canada and USA also posted remarkable growth of 9.5 per cent, 25.4 per cent, 22.5 per cent and 23.8 per cent, respectively in December compared to the same month a year ago.
A total of 50,840 foreign tourists departed from the only international airport in December, whereas some 60,466 Nepalis arrived and some 65,247 Nepalis departed from Tribhuvan International Airport (TIA) in December.
January — 32,914
February — 37,584
March — 46,491
April — 51,969
May — 52,489
June — 37,226
July — 35,212
August — 43,487
September — 45,782
October — 62,712
November — 58,156
December — 43,721
(Source: Nepal Tourism Board)