Kathmandu: India has emerged as Nepal’s top inbound tourist market in 2022, the tourism authority here said on Monday, as the key sector in the Himalayan nation is gradually witnessing recovery from the onslaught of the coronavirus pandemic.
Of the total 614,148 foreign visitors from January to December last year, 209,105 were from India, followed by the US with 77,009 and the UK 44,781, according to data published by the Nepal Tourism Board (NTB).
Australia is in fourth place with 26,874 inbound visitors, while Bangladesh with 25,384 tourists ranked fifth in the list.
The arrival of 614,148 tourists last year indicates a significant recovery in the Nepal tourism sector, NTB CEO Dhananjay Regmi said. In 2021, the country witnessed only 150,962 tourist footfall, while it was 230,085 in 2020, according to the data.
Before the pandemic hit the tourism industry, Nepal received 1.2 million tourists in 2019.
The highest number of 88,582 tourists entered Nepal via air routes in October 2022. Of the total international visitors last year, 40.06 per cent were from the SAARC countries, the NTB data said.
Tourism is one of the mainstays of the Nepalese economy. It is also a major source of foreign exchange and revenue. The tourism industry contributed about 6.7 per cent to Nepal’s GDP.
Possessing 8 of the 10 world’s highest mountains, including Mount Everest, Nepal is a hotspot destination for mountaineers, rock climbers and people seeking adventures. The Hindu, Buddhist and other cultural heritage sites of Nepal, and around the year fair weather are also strong attractions.