1 Nepal saw a record number of international tourists in 2016, giving the country a boost after numbers plummeted following a major earthquake in 2015, officials said on Monday.
2 A total of 729,550 international travelers visited Nepal last year, the Immigration Department said, although figures on Indian tourists who crossed the porous border into Nepal weren’t included in the calculation.
3 Tourist arrivals increased by 31 per cent compared to 2015, when 554,747 foreign tourists visited the country, which was hit by a 7.8-magnitude earthquake on April 25, 2015, killing 9,000 people, including foreign tourists, and damaging trekking trails and world heritage sites.
5 Sharad Pradhan, a spokesperson for the Nepal Tourism Board, a state agency that promotes tourism, attributed the rise to goodwill and publicity Nepal garnered after the earthquake.
6 “European and Americans who had a soft spot for Nepal thought that visiting our country would be the best way to help us recover from the earthquake.
7 “Guidebooks such as `Lonely Planet’ and ‘Rough Guides’ also helped our cause by promoting Nepal as a favorite destination,’’ Pradhan said.
8 Last year, the travel and tourism sector contributed 4 per cent to the gross domestic product of Nepal, which aims to attract 1 million foreign tourists by 2018.