Hong Kong, Feb 26: China is emerging as one of the most powerful origin countries for Nepal's tourism industry, considering its growth of 7.5 in its gross domestic product.
Deepak Raj Joshi, CEO of the Nepal Tourism Board (NTB) said that after 2015, there has been a 20 to 30 percent growth in the number of Chinese arrivals in Nepal, every year.
He was also quoted by the South China Morning Post that Chinese arrivals today are the "fastest growing segment of tourism in Nepal."
Reportedly, Joshi said that "only a decade ago, Chinese tourists amounted to about 30,000-35,000 annually. This year we are expecting nearly 40,000 for this Lunar New Year holiday season alone."
According to South China Morning Post, during the previous year, India was the top tourist source country, with 160,000 air arrivals, followed by China, at 104,000.
Joshi was quoted saying, "this year, we expect about 160,000 to 170,000 from India, and China to narrow the gap substantially by going up to 130,000 to 135,000. While Indians are travelling further afield, Nepal is still a new destination for the Chinese."
Financially, China has established their presence in Nepal by constructing airports in the popular holiday town of Pokhara, a gateway to the Annapurna Circuit trekking trail and Lumbini. this is the place where Lord Buddha is said to have been born.
The number of Chinese tourists is anticipated to increase after these airports are constructed. The extension of the 1956-kilometre-long Qinghai-Tibet Railway to Nepal would be a major step towards enhancing the tourism in the region.
T present, five Chinese Airways namely, Air China, China Southern, China Eastern, Sichuan Airlines and Tibet Airlines-operated flights to Nepal. When the traffic between the two hubs grows, the number of Chinese tourists also expected to increase accordingly.
China is one among the major contributors to global outbound travel.