Tourism Minister Bhattarai hopeful of multidimensional impact on tourism from President Xi’s visit

२५ आश्विन २०७६, शनिबार

Kathmandu, 12 Oct : Minister for Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation, Yogesh Kumar Bhattarai has expressed his hope that Chinese President Xi Jinping’s visit to the state today will have its multidimensional impact on Nepal’s tourism.

The Chinese President’s visit to the context when the arrivals of Chinese tourists will increase yearly will encourage Chinese people to visit Nepal, leading to a further rise in the arrivals.

In his exclusive talks with the Rastriya Samachar Samiti (RSS) in the context of the visit of the Chinese President, Minister Bhattarai noted that the visit by the Chinese President after 23 years was a golden opportunity for the promotion of Nepal’s tourism.

He said the context was that any policy, program and authority taken by China emerging as a strong economy and super power nation had the potential of affecting the world and it was really a matter of pride for Nepal and Nepali that we were welcoming the President. from such nation. “The contributions and role of China in the global economy, strategic sector and global tourism promotion have reached the decisive phase.”

Minister Bhattarai meets xi jingfing in china.

High level visits (by the Head of the State and Head of Government) to China are being made in Nepal, but Nepal has been waiting for this level to visit for years and this is the historic moment for us, according to him.

 The Minister describing tourism as a major pillar of Nepal’s economy said the government had set a target of contributing tourism to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) yearly. “At present, the contribution of the tourism sector to the GDP is only about three percent. We (government) have set a target of increasing this figure to 0 percent by the end of the 15th fifth-year plan.”

   The Minister added that we expect to see at least 500 thousand Chinese tourists during the Nepal Visit Year 2020 announced by the government and Xi’s visit would obviously help meet expectations.

 It may be noted that the government has announced to celebrate the year 2020 as a visit to Nepal with an objective of welcoming two million tourists. For this, it is necessary to attract tourists from potentially large tourism markets including China.

The tourist arrivals from China have been increasing each year. In 2018, 160 thousand Chinese people visited Nepal and in the first eight months of the current year, a 10 percent rise has been recorded in the correspondent period last year.

Statistics show that Chinese tourists are particularly interested to visit Kathmandu, Pokhara, Chitwan, Lumbini among the destinations. Nepal is the birthplace of the Buddha. Buddha is highly revered in China. A majority of the Chinese population is Buddhist and it is expected that a number of Chinese tourists will also increase after President Xi’s visit, according to Minister Bhattarai.

He said adventure tourism is the most liked choice of the Chinese tourists of late and paragliding is the main attraction for them. More than 60 per cent of the tourists are opting for paragliding business, which is recently operated in Pokhara, comprises of Chinese visitors. It said the economic condition and purchasing power of Chinese tourists has improved in recent years.

Another important aspect for tourism is the easy ‘connectivity’ for the promotion of tourism. Chinese Airlines is operating direct flights to Nepal from various cities in China, including Kunming, Guangzhou, Lhasa, Chendu and Sichuan. Himalaya Airlines has made preparations to operate flight from Beijing soon.

Similarly, as per the bilateral air agreement signed between Nepal and China some months back, air flights would have operated from 15 additional Chinese cities to Nepal. Accordingly, Nepal Airlines, the national flag-carrier, has also made preparations to start flights to Guangzhou and Beijing. This is also expected to increase the number of Chinese visitors to Nepal.

Tourism Minister Bhattarai said various statistics show that some 150 million Chinese citizens annually visit various places around the world and it would be significant if only a small proportion of it could be brought to Nepal by developing it as an important tourism destination for them.

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He mentioned that the Chinese side has been providing significant support in the area of ​​civil aviation as well. A Chinese contractor company is constructing the Gautam Buddha International Airport in Bhairahawa. This airport is in the final stages of construction. Similarly, the Chinese company has been given the responsibility of constructing the Pokhara Regional International Airport. A Chinese contractor company is associated with the improvement and expansion of the Tribhuvan International Airport.

The contributions of Chinese are also notable in the post-earthquake reconstruction of cultural heritages in Nepal. The Durbar High School, the nine-storey palace of Basantapur and the Kathmandu and the seven-storey palace are in Nuwakot in the Taleju Temple.

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