Nepal’s Tourism Industry Gears Up for a Post-Pandemic Comeback

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Key Takeaways

  • Nepal, reliant on tourism, actively works on post-pandemic recovery.
  • The government invests in adventure tourism, emphasizing traditional activities.
  • The ‘Visit Nepal Decade’ plan outlines a 10-year strategy for targeted promotions.
  • Focus on the Chinese market with increased promotional efforts.
  • Foreign arrivals rise, but full recovery to pre-pandemic levels is ongoing.

Kathmandu, Nepal–The economy of Nepal, a nation heavily reliant on tourism, was severely impacted by the global pandemic. As the travel industry slowly rebounds worldwide, the Himalayan nation is actively working to revive its vital tourism sector.

According to a Reuters report, there has been a gradual return of visitors to the country. However, authorities are actively exploring ways to optimize these numbers further. The government of Nepal has devised plans to increase investments in the country’s adventure and hospitality tourism sectors.

Some of these efforts include promoting traditional trekking and climbing and emphasizing other activities such as bungee jumping, paragliding, and skydiving.

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“We are adding new tourism infrastructure, and investment in hotels is rising,” said Taranath Adhikari, Director General of the tourism department, in the report.

The ‘Visit Nepal Decade 2023 – 2032’

The Nepalese government unveiled a 10-year strategic plan (called the Visit Nepal Decade) in December last year with the same objective.

Under the initiative, authorities will focus on the promotion of the following themes during each of the next ten years:

2023Planning
2024Cultural heritage campign in Bagmati
2025Remote area tourism promotion in Gandaki
2026Adventurous and spiritual tourism
2027Buddhist tourism promotion in Lumbini
2028Ramayan-based tourism campaign in the Madhesh
2029Natural and spiritual tourism promotion in Sudarpaschim
2030Biodiversity promotion in Province 1
2031Virgin Karnali province campaign
2032Festive Nepal campaign

Targeting Chinese Tourists

According to the Reuters report, foreign arrivals more than doubled (compared to the previous year) to almost 79,000 in the first quarter of 2022. Although significant, Adhikari mentioned that the numbers weren’t even half as pre-pandemic levels.

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Per another report, in 2019, there were 169,543 visitors from China alone. Authorities have recognized the significant market from their neighboring state and have channeled their efforts to ramp up promotions in hotspot cities such as Beijing.

Moreover, there has been a growing demand for the Chinese government to take steps to increase tourist arrivals to Nepal.

China resumed allowing its citizens to travel abroad on February 6 this year but with restrictions limited to 20 countries (excluding Nepal)

However, in a recent update effective March 15, national travel agencies and online travel companies have been permitted to resume outbound group tours for Chinese citizens to Nepal and other relevant countries.

Just over a week ago, a group of 180 Chinese tourists arrived in the country after almost a three-year hiatus.

What We Think

Nepal’s strategic approach with the ‘Visit Nepal Decade’ plan demonstrates a commitment to revitalizing its tourism industry. Targeting diverse themes and specifically tapping into the Chinese tourist market aligns with a broader recovery strategy.

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While the rebound is evident with increased foreign arrivals, the journey to pre-pandemic levels remains a gradual one. The recent resumption of outbound group tours from China signifies positive steps, offering optimism for Nepal’s tourism revival in the coming years.

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Aqil K
Aqil K
Aqil writes about travel, tourism, and covers the many aspects of the digital nomad lifestyle.

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