Due to the prolonged political transition, tourist arrivals by air have dropped for the first time in the last three and a half years.
According to figures released by the Immigration Office at Tribhuwan International Airport (TIA), tourist arrivals reached 35,330 with a 15.9 per cent decline in January as compared to the same month last year.
Key markets like India and China have recorded negative growths in arrivals in January.
Indian visitor arrivals recorded a negative growth of 26.1 per cent, whereas the Chinese market also posted a negative growth of 40.3 per cent, pulling the overall visitors by air figure down.
In the SAARC region, only Pakistan recorded a positive growth of 5.8 per cent. Arrivals from Bangladesh and Sri Lanka registered negative growths of 62.6 per cent and 42.6 per cent, respectively.
Arrivals from Asia — other than South Asia — have also recorded a negative growth of 16.4 per cent in aggregate with mixed results. Arrivals from Japan, Singapore, Thailand, Malaysia and South Korea have increased by 16.8 per cent, 10.3 per cent, 4.3 per cent, 42.6 per cent and 11.2 per cent, respectively, the data revealed.
An overall negative growth of 15 per cent has been observed from the European markets, with arrivals from major generating markets like Germany, France and the Netherlands down by 12.2 per cent, 38.2 per cent, and 29 per cent, respectively. However, arrivals from the UK have increased by 6.6 per cent as compared to the same month last year.
Tourist arrivals from Australia, New Zealand and the US have registered growths of 27.3 per cent, 25 per cent, and 13 per cent, respectively. A negative growth of 27.4 per cent has been recorded from Canada this January as compared to last January.
A total of 45,667 foreign tourists departed from the international airport, whereas some 69,442 Nepalis arrived and 91,281 Nepalis departed from TIA in January.
Arrival trend in January
2009 — 21,900
2010 — 26,071
2011 — 32,914
2012 — 42,031
2013 — 35,330
(Source: Nepal Tourism Board)