Tourism in Nepal

  • Last Updated on Apr 9, 2020

Nepal is known for being one of the most famous travel destinations in the world. With thousands of tourists visiting the county every year, Tourism in Nepal has soared to new heights. Nepal has become a popular tourist hotspot. The capital city of the country, Kathmandu and the city of lakes, Pokhara are the top cities in the country to see a sharp increase in the number of tourists in recent years. With trekking routes to Everest and Annapurna flooded by foreigners throughout the year, the trekking has added a boost to increase the tourism market. From UNESCO world heritage sites to different ancient landmarks, from a diverse ethnic community to experiencing different cultures and traditions, all of which have been successful to catch the interest of foreigners to visit the country of Nepal.

So how did Nepal, a small country in South East Asia become a hub, which has been successful to attract travelers from all around the world? To get a better grasp on how this developing country made its way to be one of the top global tourism industries, let us take a look at how this all began.   

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History of Tourism in Nepal

The History of Tourism in Nepal began, after the first successful expedition of Tenzing Norgay and Sir Edmund Hillary to reach the top of Everest. Before 1951, tourism was not an option for the country as the Rana Regime had banned any foreigners from entering the country. It wasn’t after the successful ascent of Everest that tourism had started to bloom in Nepal. In 1956, the National Planning Council on Tourism was established. With an addition to the National tourist Development Board establishment in the same year and Royal Nepal Airlines Corporation starting its services in 1959, the tourism just exploded in Nepal.

In the 1960’s and early 1970s hippies started to notice Nepal as the place to get an abundant amount of marijuana and hashish. The government started to notice the event and banned the selling of marijuana and hashish in 1973. This became a turning point in the tourism sector of Nepal. More and more people started to visit the country for its traditional culture and religion. With a high inflow of refugees from Tibet Buddhism started to become popular. As the community became diverse, in the 1980’s Nepal tourism board formally started to promote Nepal as a great destination for traveling. After the 2000’s the country is seeing a rise with the tourist inflow every year. Thousands of travelers are coming to Nepal to explore its pristine natural beauty and to observe the vast and rich cultures and traditions that it holds with its diverse religious communities.

Development of Tourism in Nepal

The popularity of tourism surged in Nepal after the country started to better care about its natural atmosphere(Resources) which helped in the Development of Tourism in the country. Nepal was recognized as the world’s second-richest country in water sources. This helped in promoting cities like Pokhara(known as the city of Lakes). With the capital bustling with tourists because of the one and only international airport (Tribhuvan International Airport) in the country, Kathmandu started to become the center for setting up hotels and restaurants to receive the foreign guests. Everest was already the top destination for all travelers visiting Nepal but began to change as new trekking routes started to come into operation. Pokhara made a big contribution by promoting trekking adventures around its city and surrounding mountain valleys.  An example is a famous trek to the base camp of Mt Annapurna(8091m, 26,545ft).

With the Everest trails flooded by tourists and travelers, new exploration options to some of the world’s highest mountains became popular. Actually, there’s more. 8 of the top 10 highest peaks in the world lie in Nepal. So you can see why the trekking became a famous tourism boot for the country. With cities and trekking becoming rapidly popular, adventure activities like paragliding, zipline, bungee jumping, rafting, and more started to get high responses from travelers. But, this isn’t all.

  • Nepal holds a rich forest area with diverse flora and fauna which is a curiosity to  foreign scientists
  • The country holds many UNESCO World heritage sites and popular landmarks famous throughout the world
  • The addition of jungle safari in Chitwan was a huge boot to the Asian traveling market which increased the inflow of foreigners
  • Lumbini the birthplace of Lord Gautam Buddha lies in Nepal and brought Buddhists from all around the world. 

Scope of Tourism in Nepal

Now lies the question. What can Nepal offer to its travelers and increase the scope of the tourism industry to grow itself to greater heights? The answer is rather simple. The Scope of tourism in Nepal extends from the east to the west, from the north to the south, from the air and to the land. With many rivers, lakes and water sources in the country, rafting and boating have and can become a better attraction to foreigners. The paragliding, hot air balloon, bungee, and Zipline through the air are seeing more interaction for foreign adventurers. Mountain biking, trekking, city tours, and site visits, and jungle safari is definitely one that brings excitement to travelers and foreigners by connecting them with the local traditions and culture and with the pristine natural atmosphere of Nepal. All of this plays a vital role to increase the scope of the tourism industry throughout the country. Every year new adventure activities like rock climbing and trekking adventures are popping up one after another in the country. If the Government of Nepal can manage all of its resources properly, the tourism sector of the nation can grow to greater heights in the international tourism sector.

Possibilities of Tourism in Nepal

The Possibility of Tourism in Nepal is actually, at a potentially high level. This has to do with its geographical location, its culture and traditions, landmarks, and probably the most important factor, is its natural beauty. Nepal has many forests, mountain valleys, and river trails. This is a major attraction to tourists who seek out quiet time with their families. Many travelers like to explore the nature and culture of the people. Nepal offers 101 ethnic groups with over 92 different languages. With vast culture and traditions, it is always a treat for the foreigners to observe the life of different communities in Nepal.

The mountain valleys hold the high snow peak mountains. Some famous ones are probably Everest, Annapurna, Kanchenjunga, Manaslu, Mardi Himal, etc. All the trails around the mountain region are being developed at a rapid pace with many hotels and lodges being set up all around the routes. Foreigners or travelers who visit Nepal, love to watch the high mountains and the trekking option available around these mountain trails. How can we forget the 10 UNESCO world heritage sites and different ancient and historical landmarks? These landmarks can be converted to sightseeing trips for the foreigners. Lumbini, the birthplace of Gautam Buddha has many monasteries and Buddhist temples that are and can attract more inflow of tourists.

Also, the natural parks like the Chitwan National Park, Sagarmatha National Park, and the Bardia National Park can be included with many adventure activities like Jungle Safari, Jeep Safari, Zoo visit, Wildlife viewing center, and more. Other activities like Paragliding, Bungee jumping, rafting, Zipline, Mountain Biking, and more are being developed at a rapid pace. Such activities are popular throughout the world and are gathering the attention of many adventurers and travelers visiting Nepal.

Advantages of Tourism in Nepal

Tourism heavily influences the working of Nepal's government. The advantages of tourism start with the following points

The main source of foreign currency

Tourism is the number one source to generate foreign currency in Nepal. As the tourism sector grows and more foreigners spend their time in Nepal, the inflow of the currency directly uplifts the working of the country. As Nepal imports more goods than exporting its local products, the foreign currency is the highest number two source to generate money for the country to compete internationally.

Supports handicraft and Cottage Industries

Foreigners take a keen interest in handicraft goods made from the local products using raw material available in the country. Goods like carpers, status, portraits are at a high demand by travelers. This helps the community to grow. It also expands the popularity of the Nepalese people’s handiwork throughout the world.

Development of Infrastructure

The Nepal Government after seeing tourism flourish in the country have given a lot of focus to develop facilities for the foreigner and travelers from all around the world. This helps to develop better infrastructure in the Country which benefits the citizens of the country as a whole.

Conservation of Art and Culture

When foreigners visit the country, they get to experience the local culture and traditions. Historical site visits and observing the art and architecture of famous UNESCO world heritage sites and landmarks help the country to spread its religious norms and values throughout the world.

Increase in Trade

As the tourism industry started to develop in the country, the demands for locally made goods and products started to increase in the global market. This boosts the economy of local businesses and the country as a whole.

Publicity throughout the World

Tourism helps us to spread our influence in the world. Names of sites like Pashupatinath, Boudhanath, Muktinath, Swayambhunath, Lumbini, Kathmandu Durbar Square, Bhaktapur Durbar Square, Patan Durbar Square, Davis Falls, Phewa Lake, and more have been successfully spread in the world. This has led to an increase in tourist inflow to watch visit these places and its surroundings. This helps to generate easy income for people around the landmarks and +

Importance of Tourism in Nepal 

The importance of tourism in Nepal is a business supporting its workers. From tourism, the Country has many benefits. Of which the most two important is basically the following:

1. Local Handicrafts industry, RestaurSupports ants and Hotels

Tourism in places like Kathmandu and Pokhara influences the Hotels and restaurant businesses. It also directly influences buying locally made handicrafts that the citizens show less interest in.

2. Helps to Grow the economy of the Nation as a whole

The main importance of Tourism is that it is the second-best method to generate an economy for the country. With the high inflow of tourists, the spending of their currencies provides a great income source to the less important currency of Nepal. This helps to develop the country's resources and help to develop the life of people as a whole.

Present Situation of Tourism in Nepal 

The situation of the Tourism industry in Nepal has taken a dire turn. This year, which was supposed to be the #visitnepal2020 (the slogan for the tourism year) went in ruins for the country. With the coronavirus outbreak in Wuhan, China the virus has spread throughout the world. With travel bans and countries in lockdown, no one wants to leave their home. This has affected the tourism industry very hard. With the loss inflow of tourists, many organizations, companies, and businesses in the country are having a hard economical downfall. On March 30, 2020, the total cases for the coronavirus reached a total of 740,000 people who tested positive. It would have been easier if there was a cure for this pandemic. However, as the virus is never seen before type, the cure is still not available. The total number of people dead in the world crosses 35000. In Nepal, 4 deaths were confirmed with no accurate data of the positive number of cases reported. With such a situation in the world, travelers were banned from going out of their country. Even in Nepal, quarantine has become a usual activity since March 24, 2020. With every business that depends on tourism for a proper income generation, it all came to a Halt until further notice.  

Tourism in Nepal Statistics 

Tourism in Nepal can be estimated by some statistical data. Let us take a look at the year 2018. In this year, the ranks for the tourist with respect to their country are, 

  1. India
  2. China
  3. USA
  4. Sri Lanka
  5. United Kingdom

If you take a look at their purpose for visiting, 703,843 people visited the county for holiday, 187,692 for pilgrimage tours, 169,180 for trekking, and 112,357 people for other reasons. The Shree number in just 2018 helps to look at the growth rate for each sector in the tourism industry. We have listed the arrivals of tourists from 2012 to 2018 through a chart which shows the staggering increase in the number of visitors to come to Nepal for exploring. 

For the Nepal statistics on tourism, we can see how important the country is prioritizing itself to better improve the tourism sector. 

Prospects of Tourism in Nepal 

Nepal has many prospects for tourism. From ancient art and architecture to historical landmarks the country is shaped around ancient architectural buildings surrounded by a beautiful natural atmosphere. The country has flatlands, rocky hilly trails, and high mountain valleys which shows the geographical diversity in the country. With this diversity, many options and services can be created to make the tourism industry boom in the country. Some Prospects the might play a key role are:

Pilgrimage and Spiritual significance

Exploring pilgrimage destinations that are scattered throughout the nation. Nepal is a Hindu country, which has numerous ancient pilgrimage sites. The Kathmandu Valley alone houses the famous Pashupatinath Temple, Swayambhunath and several other temples and monuments which have a rich cultural significance. Janaki Mandir in Janakpur, Tengboche Monastery in the Everest trail, Lumbini, Muktinath, Gosainkunda, and etc are just a few which are scarred throughout the nation. Moreover, the Himalayas are considered to have a huge spiritual significance to the Tibetan Buddhist culture.

City and Mountain Visits

The capital city of Kathmandu holds 7 of the 10 UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Nepal and offers a sightseeing adventure to observe the rich cultural heritage of Nepal. If we look at Pokhara( the city of lakes), it is a popular destination with many famous site visits and trekking options around the region. Lumbini, the birthplace of Lord Gautam Buddha and Chitwan, is the home of the rarest animals in Nepal. These city tours will have great help in making the tourists engage with the people around the region.  Trekking and mountaineering have always been the beginning of the start of tourism in Nepal. Of the world’s 14 highest peaks above 8,000 m, eight of them are held by the country of Nepal. The trekking trails and mountain views around these paths are a treat to the eyes of foreigners. With local people's rich culture and lifestyle around these mountain visits, it attracts the tourists. They take their experience home and share it around which is a free advertisement for the country. Just the mountain trekking alone sees thousands of tourists visiting the country.  

Natural experience and adventure activities it offers

The tropical jungles of Nepal hold some of the rarest wildlife habitats in South East Asia. The One-Horned Rhinoceros, The Royal Bengal Tiger, Snow Leopard, Red panda, and Musk Deers are just a name of new rare species seen in the region. The nature conservation centers house more than 850 species of birds in various parts of the country. With national parks providing adventure activities of Jungle safari, Nepal can see a rise in its tourism. Nepal is also popular with its adventure activities through its natural resources. Paragliding, Bungee, mountain biking, boating, zipline, etc are just to name a few. 

Be a part of Nepal's visit and excursion with Nepal Trek Adventure in 2022 and upcoming years ahead.

Manju Mahato

Manju Mahato

Manju Mahato is a content and blog writer with over 5 years of experience in the field. She has a passion for creating compelling and engaging content that resonates with readers. Her expertise lies in crafting informative and well-researched articles on a wide range of topics, including health, travel, and technology. She is a skilled communicator and enjoys connecting with her readers through her writing. With a keen eye for detail and a knack for storytelling, she strives to deliver high-quality and informative content that makes a difference.

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