Though the visitors from southern neighbour contributes a large chunk in the total tourist arrivals to Nepal, Chinese arrivals also crossed the 100,000 mark last year.
“The visitors from the northern neighbour touched an all time high of 113,173 in 2013,” according to the latest report of Tourism Ministry.
The increase in number of Chinese tourists is largely attributed to improved air connectivity between Nepal and China.
Due to more flight frequency, the arrivals from went up by 55.3 per cent to 62,616 and by road travellers swelled by 44.7 per cent to 50,557, according to Nepal Tourism Statistics 2013. “The Chinese arrivals in 2012 stood at 71,861.”
The increased connectivity – by both air and land – is expected to double the number of visitors from the northern neighbour.
The rapid growth in Chinese visitors is also due to recently revised air services agreement (ASA) between Nepal and China that permits Chinese carriers to operate 56 flights a week with any type of aircraft.
Earlier, Chinese airlines were allowed to operate only 14 flights a week.
Currently, Air China and China Eastern operate daily scheduled flights to Nepal, while China Southern operates double daily flights, whereas China Southern flies on Kathmandu- Guangzhou route and China Eastern and Air China fly on Kathmandu-Kunming and Lhasa routes, respectively.
Nepal has seen a constant increase in Chinese arrivals since June 2009 also due to China’s recognition of Nepal as the Approved Destination Status (ADS) back in 2002, from when Chinese visitors started travelling Nepal officially as tourists.
Earlier, before 2000, Chinese visitors were allowed to travel Nepal only on official visits. The central banks of both the countries have also signed an agreement to allow Chinese currency to be converted in Nepal to give a boost to bilateral trade, tourism and economic cooperation.