KATHMANDU, Feb 21: Direct contribution of travel and tourism sector to the country's Gross Domestic Product (GDP) is estimated to have increased by 6.8 percent to Rs 91 billion in 2017, a study conducted by World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) shows.
According to a study report entitled Travel & Tourism Impact 2017, direct contribution of tourism to Nepal's GDP was Rs 85.2 billion in 2016.
WTTC is London-based forum of chief executives of leading travel and tourism companies in the world. It works with governments of several countries for travel and tourism sectors.
While WTTC has published exact figures of all the countries, it has published only estimated figures of Nepal as the Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation is yet to compile the overall data of tourism of the year 2017.
Direct contribution includes economic activity generated by hotels, travel agents, airlines and other passenger transportation services as well as restaurant and leisure industries directly supported by tourists, according to WTTC.
Similarly, total contribution of travel and tourism sector is estimated to grow by 6.2 percent to Rs 189 billion in 2017. In 2016, such contribution was Rs 177.9 billion which was 7.5 percent of the country's GDP.
Total contribution includes wider effects from investment, spending of direct and indirect employees and other indirect investments in tourism sector, according to the council.
WTTC report shows that that leisure travel spending generated Rs 122.3 billion for the country in 2016. According to the government, 65 percent of the total tourist arrivals in Nepal are of holiday/pleasure segment. This means 489,451 foreign tourists, according to Nepal Tourism Statistics 2016 prepared by the tourism ministry, contributed Rs 122.3 billion for the country in 2016. This spending is expected to grow by 6.9 percent in 2017 to Rs 130.8 billion.
Deepak Raj Joshi, CEO of Nepal Tourism Board (NTB), said that performance of tourism industry in 2017 is similar to the forecast made by WTTC. “We will get the exact data of 2017 by August. Healthy growth in tourist arrival in 2017 has contributed to tourism revenue too,” Joshi said, adding: “Contribution of tourism to country's GDP is certain to rise.”
Tourist arrival to Nepal (by air only) in 2017 increased by 28.8 percent to 940,218 in 2017 compared to arrival figures of the previous year.
Joshi further said that hotel room rates and other tourism activities have also increased in 2017. Moreover, daily expenditure of tourists is also likely to reach US$ 70 in FY 2017/18. Daily expenditure of tourists was $52 in FY2016/17. The growing investment in the hospitality sector is creating more jobs in the country, he added.
According to the report, tourism sector provided direct employment to 427,000 people in 2016 which is 2.9 percent of the total employed population of the country. This includes employment generated by hotels, travel and tour agencies, airlines and other passenger transportation services.
WTTC projects the number to grow by 6 percent to 452,500 in 2017.
Similarly, total employment generate by the sector was 945,000 in 2016. It is projected to grow by 5.4 percent to 996,000 in 2017.