The direct contribution of Nepal’s travel and tourism to its Gross Domestic Product (GDP) stood at Rs85.3 billion, or 4 percent, last year and is forecast to rise by 7 percent to Rs91.3 billion this year, the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) said.
According to a report published by the WTTC entitled Travel and Tourism Economic Impact 2016, the direct contribution of travel and tourism to the GDP is expected to grow by 5 percent annually to Rs149.4 billion, or 4.7 percent of the GDP by 2026.
The London-based council said that the direct contribution reflects the economic activity generated by industries such as hotels, travel agents, airlines and other passenger transportation services, excluding commuter services.
It also includes, for example, the activities of the restaurant and leisure industries directly supported by tourists.
In terms of direct contribution to the GDP by the travel and tourism sector, Nepal is ranked third among 184 countries. However, Nepal comes behind India (second) but ahead of China (14th) Bangladesh (34th) and Sri Lanka (75th).
According to the report, the total contribution of travel and tourism to the GDP was Rs173.7 billion (8.1 percent of GDP) in 2015, and is forecast to rise by 6.5 percent in 2016, and to rise by 5 percent annually to Rs300.7 billion (9.5 percent of GDP) in 2026.
Domestic travel spending generated 57.5 percent of direct travel and tourism GDP in 2015 compared with 42.5 percent for foreign visitor spending or international tourism receipts.
The country’s travel and tourism sector directly generated 426,500 jobs last year, which represents 3.2 percent of total employment. The figure is estimated to grow by 6 percent this year to 452,000, the report said. By 2026, travel and tourism will account for 654,000 jobs directly, an increase of 3.8 percent annually over the next 10 years.
In terms of direct contribution to job creation by the travel and tourism sector, Nepal is ranked sixth among 184 countries. Nepal comes ahead of India (38th), Bangladesh (88th), China (98th) and Sri Lanka (126th) in job creation by the travel and tourism sector.
The report, however, has set an ambitious forecast of attracting 980,000 international tourist arrivals this year. It said that by 2026, international tourist arrivals to Nepal are forecast to reach 1.73 million.
Tourist arrivals to Nepal fell to a six-year low of 538,970 in 2015.
In terms of investment, travel and tourism is expected to have attracted capital investment of Rs15.2 billion in 2015. This is expected to rise by 7.6 percent in 2016, and rise by 4.4 percent annually over the next 10 years to Rs25.1 billion in 2026. The government’s collective investment in the tourism sector stood at Rs10.9 billion last year. The country is ranked 29th in terms of attracting investment in tourism.– THE KATHMANDU POST