KATHMANDU: Nepal has been placed in the list of fastest growing tourism markets by the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO).
The Tourism Highlights Report 2018 released recently by the UNWTO shows that Nepal notched up 8th spots in terms of fastest growing tourism markets, registering 24.86 percent annual growth.
Arrivals to Nepal hit a new record in 2017 but remained short of the much ballyhooed target of 1 million individuals, according to the Department of Immigration. The country received 940,218 tourists last year, up 24.86 percent from 2016.
As per the department statistics, arrivals from the UK, Germany, France and Spain have rebounded strongly last year. The country had been witnessing a gradual decline in European tourist numbers since 2011 due to an economic recession in most parts of Europe, travel trade entrepreneurs said.
Likewise, Nepal recorded strong arrivals from India, the US, Australia and Japan, most of them recording double-digit growth. Arrivals from India, the country’s top tourist source market, jumped 36 percent to 160,832 individuals. The highest ever arrivals from India were recorded in 2013 when the country received 180,974 individuals. Indian arrivals over surface routes, however, are not taken into account in the arrival figures.
Arrivals from China, the country’s second largest source market, have seen a nominal growth despite increased flight frequencies between the two countries. Arrivals from the northern neighbour totalled 104,664 individuals last year.

Tourist arrivals growth in 2017
1. Egypt — 55.1%
2. Togo — 46.7 0%
3. San Marino — 31.1%
4. Vietnam — 29.1%
5. Georgia — 27.9%
6. Palestinian territories — 25.7%
7. Niue — 25.4%
8. Nepal — 24.9
9. Israel — 24.6%
10. Northern Mariana Islands — 24.3%

According to the UNWTO, global tourist arrivals grew 6.8 percent in 2017, hitting 1.32 billion. That’s 84 million more travelers than the previous year, the highest increase since the 2009 global economic crisis hit. The report attributes the growth to an economic upswing, resulting in strong outbound demand from major source markets.
The recovery of outbound demand from Brazil and the Russian Federation after a few years of decline and the ongoing rise of India, also contributed to inbound growth in many destinations, says the report.
France leads the countries attracting highest number of tourists. The country received 86.7 million tourists in 2017, followed by Spain 81.8 million.

Counties with highest number of tourists
1. France — 86.9 million
2. Spain — 81.8 million
3. United States — 75.9 million
4. China — 60.7 million
5. Italy — 58.3 million
6. Mexico — 39.3 million
7. United Kingdom — 37.7 million
8. Turkey — 37.6 million
9. Germany — 37.5 million
10. Thailand — 35.4 million

The report said that the United States received the most of the tourism revenue—$210.7 billion in 2017.
China continues to lead global outbound travel expenditures, spending a whopping $257.7 billion in 2017. The United States citizens spent $135 billion while traveling abroad last year. It’s followed by Germany, the UK, France, Australia, Canada, Russia, South Korea and Italy.

The report said that Egypt continues to recover from recent years of political unrest, leading the way with growth of 55.1 percent in 2017 international arrivals over the previous year.
Visitor numbers rebounded from both traditional markets in Western Europe and emerging markets in Central and Eastern Europe, the Middle East and Asia, says the report.