October 17: The government is preparing to adopt a new policy to bring in more Chinese tourists. The ministry of Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation has decided to hold discussions with the concerned stakeholders after Chinese President Xi Jinping announced to help promote Visit Nepal 2020 campaign among the Chinese people.
The government and the private sector are confident that the state visit of Chinese President to Nepal on the eve of the Visit Nepal Year 2020 has given a positive message worldwide that Nepal is safe for travelling. Stakeholders in Nepal are hopeful of the rise in number of Chinese tourists.
Currently, China ranks second among countries from where tourists visit Nepal after India. The arrival of Chinese tourists in Nepal has been steadily increasing in the last five years due to the increase in number of flights between the two countries and the rise in Chinese investment in Nepal.
“Chinese President Xi himself has said he will encourage Chinese tourists to visit Nepal. In this context, the ministry has decided to hold discussions with stakeholders to bring in maximum number of Chinese tourists,” said Yogesh Bhattarai, minister for culture, tourism and civil aviation.
Xi, during a dinner hosted in his honour during his recent Nepal visit, had said China would encourage its citizens to visit Nepal. He had also claimed that China is the country with the largest number of Buddhist followers who are likely to visit Nepal for pilgrimage.
Minister Bhattarai said that the government will increase air connectivity between Nepal and China to facilitate more tourists to visit Nepal.
Himalayan Air is in the final preparations for operating Kathmandu-Beijing flights. Likewise, Nepal Airlines Corporation is also awaiting approval for operating flights to more cities of China. Minister Bhattarai said that the operation of flights by the two airlines would positively impact the inflow of Chinese tourists.
A joint statement issued by Nepal and China after Xi’s visit also states that the two countries will give emphasis to increase air connectivity.
At present, five Chinese airlines have been operating 54 flights a week to Nepal.
Himalaya Airlines is planning to operate its first flight to Beijing from Kathmandu later this month on October 27. Himalaya Airlines is planning to extend the service to other six cities of China after that, according to Bijay Shrestha, vice president of Himalaya Airlines.
Deepak Raj Joshi, CEO of Nepal Tourism Board, believes that the visit of Chinese President Xi Jinping will not only promote Nepal’s tourism in China but across the world.