Nepals Tourism Industry Needs Low Cost Airlines

 

According to PATA, Nepal has so far seen foreign visitor arrivals by air increase by 18.4% to reach 168,958 for the first five months of 2011.

The country is nominally on target to reach its goal of one million visitors this year, a figure that includes both air arrivals and land-based visitors, mostly from India.

Representatives of the Nepal Tourism Board have said that Nepal's tourism industry needs low cost carriers such as AirAsia to start flying to Kathmandu.

"Airfares to Kathmandu from Southeast Asia are a little expensive," admitted Mr Sunil Sakya, Vice President of KGH Group of Hotels in Nepal. "A low cost carrier would bring a real paradigm shift ... Only 25,000 Thais visited Nepal in 2010, despite the close Buddhist pilgrimage links between the two countries. It should be three-times that number."

Adventure tourism activities such as paragliding, flying in ultralites, white water rafting and mountain biking are now being heavily promoted, especially in Pokhara, the adventure capital of Nepal. The aim is to attract younger urban residents in big Southeast Asian cites who want an adrenalin fix in a wild 'back to nature' setting. On the other side of the coin, gambling is available in seven hotels in Kathmandu.

Nepal Airlines, THAI, SilkAir and Dragonair offer a total of 25 flights a week into Nepal from Southeast Asia. Ms Ujjwalla Dali, Nepal Tourism Board's Senior Manager for Tourism Marketing, said the destination needs more than that if the country is to reach its tourism targets. "I hope that AirAsia will start flying to Kathmandu within a year," she said.

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