KATHMANDU, June 20: Despite the sustained growth in number of tourist arrivals, tourism entrepreneurs experienced 20 percent loss in revenue in first half of 2012.
The statistics of Nepal Tourism Board (NTB) shows that there was a growth of 20 percent in the number of tourist arivals in first five months of the year compared to a year ago.
Entrepreneurs say although the business was getting better in first four months, it started to go bad after May and the scenario till August was not looking good.
The series of Nepal banda and strikes has hit the business with its impact would be seen for a few more months, said Kaushal K. Singh Director at Gokarna Forest Resort. He said the revenue during this period was down by 20-25 percent.
Trekking and rafting operators are also not satisfied with the recent season. Mahendra Singh Thapa, president of Trekking Agencies Association Nepal (TAAN) said the business was down by 20 percent compared to last year. “The number of trekkers has also declined,” said he adding enterpreneurs were not able to sell packages in attractive rate.
Rafting operators who enjoyed the minimal growth in business contribute the growth to domestic tourist. Nani Kaji Thapa, president of Nepal Association of Rafting Agents (NARA) said although the overall growth was 10 percent, the growth of domestic tourists was between 35 to 40 percent. " Looking towards the revenue contribution of foreign tourist, there is nothing to cheer about," said he.
Travel Agents said although number of groups had decreased, number of Free Individual Travelers (FITs) was on rise.
According to travel agents business from Indian and Chinese tourist was better in first half of the year compared to European segment.
Laxman Chand of Sathi Tours and Travel said, “Number of Chinese visitors is on rise in terms of number and revenue.”
Amidst the disappointment, entrepreneurs are hopeful about the upcoming season. “The peak season has always been good so far,” Singh said the booking for the period of October to December was promising.
The statistics show that number of tourist increased by less than 10 percent in May, a minimal growth compared to previous months.