KATHMANDU, Feb 12: The number of group trekkers has increased by 63 percent in the first eight months of 2017 compared to the same period of 2016.
A total of 80,845 group trekkers received group TIMS cards till August of last year. During the same time in 2016, only 49,513 group trekkers had received TIMS card from TAAN.
TAAN distributes TIMS cards to trekkers traveling in group while Nepal Tourism Board (NTB) issues TIMS cards to free individual trekkers (FIT). According to NTB a total 24,956 FIT trekkers visited Nepal in the first eight months of 2017. Of which, 2,951 are South Asian nationals while 22,005 are from other countries.
Department of Immigration reports an increased number of tourist intake in 2017. However, despite the increasing number, it reports that there is still the lack of quality tourists. “This is true that the number of group tourists has increased which is good for the country,” Navaraj Dahal, president of TAAN, said. “However, majority of the tourists stay less and spend less.”
“Group trekkers certainly bring more foreign currency into the country and we need such tourists that spend more,” Dahal said.
The uptick in the number of tourists and trekkers was due to the efforts of both private sectors and government, Dahal said, adding that the number of tourist arrivals was still below the expectation of tourism entrepreneurs.
Along with the increased number of tourists, those who are traveling with limited budget are also increasing while the number of days they stay in Nepal is going down, according to Dahal
“We have to create such environment for tourists that their stay in Nepal is prolonged,” he said, adding that TAAN was currently working on policies benefitting both the tourists and the entrepreneurs