Nepal becomes major tourism destination for Asian travelers


KATHMANDU (Xinhua) -- Nepal is becoming a major tourism destination for Asian travelers, local media reported on Tuesday.

The World Bank South Asia Economic Update 2010 reveals that travelers from East Asia made up 26.5 percent of the total tourist arrivals in Nepal, according to The Kathmandu Post daily.

The statistics of the Nepal Tourism Board also reflect a similar trend. Tourist arrivals from China, South Korea and Thailand have been increasing in the past few years.

The number of Chinese arrivals in Nepal has increased by 185.97 percent in the last three years. Around 19,000 Chinese tourists visited Nepal in 2009. In the three years, 2006-2009, tourist arrivals from South Korea, Singapore, Thailand and Malaysia have soared by 68.40 percent, 164.26 percent, 83.48 percent and 46.32 percent respectively.

Travel trade analysts attribute the increment in East Asian arrivals to their rising income levels, desire to visit the birthplace of the Buddha and better air connectivity.

Currently, four Chinese airlines operate flights to Nepal with China Eastern Airlines being the latest entrant last year.

The growth in inbound from East Asia has prompted the concerned stakeholders to pay special attention to the region.

Nepal is expecting 100,000 tourists from China during Nepal Tourism Year 2011 while it has targeted a 20 percent increment in tourist arrivals from other Asian countries.

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