KATHMANDU, Nepal–The number of tourist visiting Nepal via air sank down by 4.9 percent in December compared to figures of the same month last year, according to Tribhuvan International Airport (TIA) Immigration Office.
A total of 42,601 international visitors landed at TIA during the month.
European segment has posted weaker arrival figures and have registered overall negative growth by 8.7%. ‘Arrivals from Belgium, Italy, Norway, Russia, Spain, Switzerland, and Sweden, have posted positive growths by 56.0%, 2.6%, 38.2%, 15.4%, 17.3%, 0.4%, and 32.7%, respectively compared to the same month last year’, Nepal Tourism Board (NTB) states.
According to the board, the Asian segment, other than SAARC region, showed negative growth by 3.1 percent. Similarly, tourist arrivals from the US fell by 6.1 percent.
This is the first time arrivals had gone down since 2006, stakeholders informed. In overall, the year 2013 was not a good time for tourism industry and mountaineering in Nepal.
Numbers of factors like: strikes by anti-poll elements during Constituent Assembly polls, damages of runway, European Commission´s (EC) ban on Nepali airlines citing safety concerns affected tourists’ arrival this year.
Likewise, increase in number of air accidents, and lack of tourism promotion in international arena were other issues that hit tourism industry.
Though total arrivals went down in December, number of tourists from SAARC region increased by 1.6 percent to 13,521.