KATHMANDU, July 15: The average length of tourist stay in Nepal has almost doubled over the past decade and jumped to 13.12 days in 2011/12.
The industry earned foreign currency worth Rs 24.61 billion over the first eight months of the fiscal year, says Economic Survey 2012, the annual flagship report that Ministry of Finance (MoF) released on Saturday.
“Tourism industry generated five percent of total foreign currency the country earned during the year," reads the Survey. In 2010/11, the average stay of a tourist was 12.67 days and the industry had churned out Rs 28.63 billion worth foreign currency.
In 2002, when the Maoist conflict was at its height and weighing heavy on the industry, tourist´s average stay had dropped to 7.92 days.
The Survey has attributed the rise in tourist´s average stay and better income to the special tour packages and other schemes that the entrepreneurs launched during the Nepal Tourism Year 2011.
Thanks to those efforts, the industry managed to bring in a total of 736,215 tourists during the year, posting a growth of 22 percent over previous year´s arrivals.
Break-down of tourist arrivals depending on their purpose of visit shows that a total of 395,511 tourists -- almost 54 percent of the total arrivals -- visited Nepal for sight-seeing and tour. Compared to the previous year, the volume of arrivals under this category had almost doubled.
Likewise, 86,260 tourists -- almost 12 percent of total arrivals -- visited the country for the purpose of trekking and mountaineering. While more than 63,783 tourists (almost 9 percent) visited for the sole purpose of pilgrimage, another 30,210 (4.1 percent) visited for entertainment purpose and 29,895 (about 4 percent) visited for other purposes.
Nepal also drew around 18,000 tourists for shopping and trading purposes, almost 11,000 tourists visited the country for attending seminars and workshops.
In a bid to better serve the tourists, tourism entrepreneurs also made huge investments during the year, adding up new hotels and rooms. According to the survey, a total of 38 new hotels came into being during the year, raising the number of total hotels to 1,438.