The country witnessed over half a million arrivals by air in 2012 but the visitor arrivals growth rate has dropped compared to last two years. In the year 2011 the arrivals growth rate stood at 21.4 per cent but in the year 2012, the arrivals growth rate stood at 9.8 per cent only.
"The total number of tourist arrivals by air in aggregate in the year has increased by almost 10 per cent to 598,204 compared to 2011," according to figures released by Immigration Office at Tribhuwan International Airport (TIA).
Total tourist arrivals was 53,219 more than in 2011, the data revealed, adding that 2012 concluded with a positive note both in terms of total visitor arrivals in December and also for the whole year. TIA figures revealed that arrivals in December stood at 44,774, some 2.4 per cent more than in the same month last year.
Arrivals from Asia — except South Asia — registered a positive growth of 15.1 per cent in the year, whereas in December alone, arrivals from the Asian market recorded a 10.3 per cent growth in aggregate with Malaysia (141.5 per cent), Japan (11.8 per cent), Singapore (12.1 per cent), and Thailand (25.9 per cent). However, China and South Korea registered a negative growth of 3.1 per cent and 1.6 per cent, respectively, compared to the same month in 2011.
Likewise, the South Asian market registered a positive growth of 10.4 per cent in 2012 with arrivals from Pakistan and Sri Lanka increasing by 4.1 per cent and 20.6 per cent, respectively, whereas arrivals from India and Bangladesh declined by 10.4 per cent and 19.7 per cent, respectively, in a month in December.
However, an overall positive growth of 3.5 per cent has been witnessed from European markets in December and 4.5 per cent in the whole year. Arrivals from the UK, Austria, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands and Poland, were up by 11.9 per cent, 25.6 per cent, 14.3 per cent, 23.7 per cent, 10.3 per cent, 14.2 per cent and 114.3 per cent, respectively. But Belgium, Spain and Russia posted negative growth of 22.8 per cent, 27.7 per cent and 32.5 per cent, respectively.
Arrivals from the Oceania — Australia and New Zealand — and North America — Canada and USA — posted an overall positive growth in the year by 15.1 per cent and 10.4 per cent, respectively. "Tourist arrivals from Australia, New Zealand, Canada and USA registered a remarkable growth of 24.4 per cent, 20.3 per cent, 7.5 per cent and 4.9 per cent, respectively, in December compared to December 2011.
According to the United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO), international tourism witnessed a moderate growth in 2012 with over one billion international tourist arrivals. The one billionth mark is a new record for international tourism — a sector that accounts for one in every 12 jobs and 30 per cent of the world’s services exports — and UNWTO asserted that the comparative strength of tourism in a period of continued economic uncertainty is confirmed by the positive trend on tourism earnings and expenditures.
Globally, international tourism results have so far not been seriously affected by the economic volatility, with growth continuing above the average of 3.8 per cent a year projected for the decade 2010-2020, according to UNWTO’s long-term forecast Tourism Towards 2030. It has estimated a moderate growth rate of two to four per cent in 2013.
Similarly, a total of 688,566 foreign tourists departed, whereas 736,679 Nepalis arrived and 862,416 Nepalis departed, respectively, from the international airport. A total of 54,885 foreign tourists departed from TIA in December, whereas some 61,823 Nepalis arrived and some 93,133 Nepalis departed from TIA in December alone.
Top five markets
India — 164,680
China — 53,373
USA — 41,908
UK — 35,583
Germany — 24,575(Source: Nepal Tourism Board)