01/12/2019, 05.19
NEPAL
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Record tourist arrivals top a million in 2018

The tourist sector is rising from the low caused by the 7.9 earthquake of 2015. Visitors from China, India, Sri Lanka, United States, and United Kingdom have led the way. Last year, 807 climbers reached the top of Mount Everest.

Kathmandu (AsiaNews/Agencies) – For Nepal, 2018 was a record year in tourism, topping the one-million mark for the first time.

With its peaks, breath-taking views, Hindu temples, the Himalayan nation is attracting more people from all over the world, following the major setback caused by the April 2015 earthquake that killed 9,000 people.

The number of tourist arrivals jump nearly 25 per cent to a record high of 1,173,072 visitors in 2018, the Nepal Tourism Board said Tuesday, boosted by visitors from India, China, the United States, Sri Lanka and the United Kingdom. China saw the strongest growth of 46.8 per cent to 153,602 individuals in 2018.

Deepak Raj Joshi, chief executive officer of the Nepal Tourism Board, said that the consecutive growth in tourist arrivals in the last three years had instilled confidence in tourism stakeholders.

Tourism has always been one of the country's main sources of income. It contributed 7.8 percent to Nepal's GDP in 2017, creating over a million jobs, this according to the World Travel and Tourism Council.

Hope among local tourist operators is now up, following the devastating 7.9 earthquake that struck on 25 April 2015 resulting in major damage to more than 90 per cent of the houses and hundreds of temples and protected sites in the Kathmandu Valley.

That year the number visitors dropped considerably, to 539,000 from 790,000 in 2014.

Last year also saw a record 807 climbers reach the summit of Mount Everest. Nepal is home to eight of the world's 14 peaks over 8,000 metres.

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