Nepal’s tourist arrivals jumped 25% year-on-year in the first six months of 2011, according to the latest data from the Nepal Tourism Board (NTB). A total of 245,400 tourists arrived in the country by air between January and June this year, compared with 196,300 in the same period of 2010. Arrivals from China led the way, with a huge 105% increase compared to the same period last year. Strong growth was also seen in arrivals from Japan (+19%) and South Korea (+36%), and here was an 11% rise in visitors from Europe.
While impressive, the growth rate for the first half of the year means that Nepal is likely to fall short of its target of attracting 700,000 air arrivals this year. 2011 is Nepal Tourism Year, but one official believes that the increase in arrivals is not associated with the event.
“The growth is a natural one and tourists are coming to Nepal without international marketing,” said Basanta Raj Mishra, the most recent President of the Nepal Association of Tour Operators (NATO).