March 19: In 2018 and 2019, tourists came to Nepal in huge numbers. Compared to those two years, although the number of tourists was less in 2020, the daily expenditure of tourists was more. According to the data of the Nepal Tourism Board, a total of 230,085 tourists came to Nepal in 2020. In that year, each tourist spent an average of US dollar 65 per day.
In previous years, a tourist spent an average of USD 48 per day, according to the data. In 2019, 1.1 million foreign tourists visited Nepal. According to the board's data, the average cost per tourist per day back then was US dollar 48.
The lockdown started in Nepal from April 2020. Tourists coming to Nepal in 2020 had spent more time than other years.
According to the experts, the spending of tourists coming to Nepal was high due to the increase in the duration of their stay and food expenses, even though the number of tourists was low. The Nepal Tourism Board has estimated that the rate of daily spending by foreign tourists in Nepal may have reached USD 100 in 2022.
"A survey is being conducted to see how much the tourist's expenses have increased," Maniraj Lamichhane, the director of the board, said. To further confirm this, a sample survey has been started by creating a questionnaire.
According to him, this survey includes questionnaires such as the expenses incurred when coming to Nepal by purchasing a package tour, whether the package was purchased through a hotel, how much was spent on transportation, and on food.
These questions will be asked to tourists at the airport. Tourists are also involved in activities outside the package. He expects that the rate of expenditure will increase as expenses other than packages are also counted in the current survey.
Nepal Rastra Bank is currently estimating the expenditure of tourists on the basis of foreign currency exchange of the hotel and accommodation sector. Now, a separate survey will be conducted to cover data on expenditure made by tourists in informal areas of Nepal.
Tourists also spend money in small tea shops that are operating without registration along the trekking route.
"That amount is not counted in expenditure," he said, "At present, how much has been spent in which area does not appear in the database. In the upcoming survey, the data will be collected by questioning the sources of spending by tourists.
Deepakraj Joshi, the former chief executive officer of the board, said that the expenditure of tourists has recently increased. After the Covid, natural destinations have become the choice of tourists.
He said that although the overall income will increase with the rise in arrival of tourists, per day spending of tourist on average will not increase.
"As the number of tourists increases, the average amount spent has decreased in some cases," Joshi said.
According to him, most of the money spent on the tourist packages to Nepal will be spent on tickets.
He also suggested that in the current competitive situation, the state should pay attention to increase new activities and services and increase the expenditure.