The trend of travelling among Nepalese has gradually risen over the years, thus boosting domestic tourism. Side by side, the trend among Nepalese going abroad for holidays has also increased substantially in recent years.
According to data compiled by Nepal Rastra Bank (NRB), Nepalese spent a total of Rs 61.49 billion on foreign holidays in the first eight months of fiscal year 2018-19.
This amount is an increase of 21 per cent as compared to the same period of the previous fiscal year. In the first eight months of fiscal 2017-18 expenditure on outbound tourism had stood at Rs 50.82 billion.
The expenditure on outbound tourism has increased at a time when the government has launched the ‘Pahile Desh, Ani Bidesh’ (First country, then abroad) campaign last year aiming to promote domestic tourism.
Meanwhile, in a bid to discourage the rising outflow of foreign currency on account of outbound tourism, NRB has also lowered the exchange limit for foreign visits to $1,500 from $2,500. Despite all these efforts, outbound tourism has been rising each passing year.
Talking about the increasing outbound tourism, Deepak Raj Joshi, CEO of Nepal Tourism Board, said that expanding outbound tourism is a global phenomenon. “The number of visitors travelling to third countries is increasing globally and this trend has caught up with Nepalis too,” he said. He further stated that increasing income level of Nepalis has also increased outbound tourism.
“These days, people prefer to travel during holidays rather than having get togethers at one certain place,” he said, adding, “Nowadays, Nepalis who can afford to, go on foreign junkets for holidays, while a few are also organising their wedding receptions abroad.” Moreover, travel packages for foreign trips have also become relatively cheaper as compared to previous days and that is another reason behind increasing outbound spending.
The Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation is preparing to bring new programmes and plans to promote domestic tourism in the next fiscal year.
Meanwhile, the spending of foreigners in Nepal stood at Rs 47.58 billion in the first eight months of the current fiscal, which was Rs 43.46 billion in the same period of previous fiscal.
In this backdrop, the government organised a soft launch of Visit Nepal Year 2020 campaign aiming to bring in two million tourists by 2020 on April 13. As per the campaign committee, the event will not only focus on foreign tourists but will also contribute to the growth of domestic tourism.