Tourists spend less time, more money

- SANGAM PRASAIN, Kathmandu
Tourists spend less time, more money

Jun 26, 2014-

Tourists have been spending less time in Nepal but spending more money with the average length of stay dropping to a four-year low of 12.57 days in 2013 and their daily expenditure rising to a three-year high of $ 42.80, said the Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation.

According to the preliminary statistics released by the ministry, spending was up 18 percent compared to the previous year. Tourists spent $ 39.9 per day in 2011 and $ 36.2 per day in 2012. Nepal earned Rs 40 billion from tourism last year, up from Rs 30.11 billion in the previous year.

The annual foreign exchange earnings from tourism come from airport service charges, hotels and travel agencies. The foreign currency exchanged by money changers are included in the tourism earnings.  

The Tourism Ministry said that there was a rise in the daily spending of foreign visitors in Nepal due to an appreciation of the US dollar too. Tourist spending has been calculated at the exchange rate of Rs 93.3 per $ 1 compared to Rs 85.1 in 2012.

“Revenues rose due to a stronger dollar compared to the Nepali rupee,” said Sharad Kumar Sharma, chief statistician at the Tourism Ministry.

“Moreover, there was a real increase in visitor spending last year,” said Sharma, adding that tourist spending in Nepal was still low among South Asian countries.

The tourist spending data has been based on last year’s arrivals figure of 797,759. Arrivals in 2012 amounted to 803,092. The tourism industry contributed 2 percent of the country’s GDP and employed 178,000 persons last year, said the Tourism Ministry.

Tourist spending has been declining since 2003 when it reached a record $ 79.1 per day, according to ministry data. In 1996, when arrivals had plunged to 393,613 tourists, average spending was recorded at $ 31.9 per day.

According to Aditya Baral, spokesperson of the Nepal Tourism Board, a rising US dollar is the major reason for the increased expenditure data. Moreover, Nepal’s tourist services have improved in quality and prices have swelled accordingly, he added.

Presently, tourism service tariffs are given in US dollars with hotels quoting the rates in US dollars even for Indian visitors.

However, Baral said that tourist spending had not increased to the extent expected as Kathmandu and a few mountain destinations are the only places where tourist expenditure occurs in any significant amount.

“It is necessary to enhance the capacity of service providers outside Kathmandu to increase tourist spending,” Baral added.

Travel trade entrepreneurs said that hotel tariffs and prices of other services had increased significantly in Kathmandu leading to higher tourist spending.

They said that tourists were spending more not because of improved services but because of inflation which has increased their bills.

According to the ministry, 48 percent of the tourists visited Nepal for travel and holidaymaking.

TOURIST ARRIVALS AND SPENDING

Year    Arrivals    Spending

                             person/day

2004     385,297     $45.1

2005     375,398     $58.5

2006     383,926     $55.0

2007     526,705     $45.0

2008     500,277     $73.0

2009     509,956     $65.3

2010     602,867     $43.2

2011     735,965     $39.9

2012     803,092     $36.2

2013     797,759    $42.8

(Source: Tourism Ministry)

Published: 27-06-2014 09:11

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