Chinese tourists flock to Nepal during Chinese New Year
19th Feb, 2018 | Tourism Mail Crew
KATHMANDU, Feb 19: Shuang Qi Tour Pvt. Ltd, a tour agency dealing with Chinese tourists in Nepal, has been organizing a 15-day trip for 1,000 Chinese tourists in the country since last week.
A bulk arrival of Chinese tourists making trip to Nepal during Chinese Lunar New Year that began on Friday is big business opportunity for the tour company which organizes trips for around 6,000 tourists in a year.
During the New Year also known as Spring Festival, all of China goes on vacation either within the country or outside. A total of 6.5 million Chinese are expected to travel overseas during the week-long Spring Festival holiday, according to a report by China Tourism Academy and Ctrip.
Nepal, a next-door neighbor, is benefiting greatly from Chinese holidaymakers going abroad. "We have received very good flow of Chinese tourists for this Chinese New Year," Bishwesh Shrestha, managing director of Shuang Qi Tour, told Xinhua on Saturday.
Similar is the experience of Saathi Travel Agency, the first travel agency bringing Chinese tourists to Nepal. "We are organizing a trip for around 200 Chinese travelers during this week alone," Kishor Raj Pandey, chairman of Saathi Travel, told Xinhua on Saturday.
With the company organizing trip for around 300 Chinese travelers a month on other occasions, the number of Chinese visitors managed by the company in a week is a significant jump.
With inflow of Chinese tourists during the festival growing, Nepal's hotels are crowded with Chinese travelers.
Hotel Annapurna, a five-star hotel in Kathmandu, said that around 10 percent of hotel rooms are occupied by Chinese tourists currently, while on other occasions the rate is 3-4 percent.
"We have got very good booking from Chinese tourists until February end," said Atma Khanal, sales executive at the Hotel.
Travel agencies said that all the airlines conducting flight from China to Nepal have been almost fully booked for the next two weeks.
In order to show Nepal's hospitality to Chinese tourists, the Nepal Tourism Board (NTB) in coordination with Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal and Department of Immigration has made arrangement of distributing postcard written 'Happy New Year' in Chinese language to the Chinese visitors at the Tribhuvan International Airport in Kathmandu.
"We have also arranged people who can speak Chinese language at the airport to ease the Chinese visitors," said Deepak Raj Joshi, chief executive officer of NTB.
Based on ongoing arrivals and booked seats in the airlines, the NTB expects arrivals of at least 30,000 Chinese tourists over the next two weeks.
This will be the major boost to Nepal tourism sector as Nepal expects at least 150,000 Chinese tourists by air in 2018, according to NTB. Nepal received a total of 104,664 Chinese tourists in 2017, according to Nepal's Department of Immigration. China is the second largest source market for Nepal's tourism sector.
Travel and tour operators said that Nepal could attract even more Chinese tourists during the Spring Festival if more flights are arranged between the two countries and more Chinese cities are connected with flights.
These Chinese airlines currently operate from Lhasa, Kunming, Chengdu and Guangzhou to Kathmandu but Chinese capital Beijing and major financial city Shanghai are still out of direct air connectivity with Nepal.
Joshi said they have also planned to make arrangement of chartered flights between various Chinese cities and Nepal.