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 Nepal News: Press Release from Nepal Tourism Board 02/20/02

Total Tourist Arrival in 2001 (Provisional): International visitor numbers from all of Nepal's main visitor markets were down for the year 2001.

The latest International Visitor Arrival figures released by Department of Immigration shows that the total number of visitors to Nepal decreased by 22 percent to 362,544 visitors for the year 2001 representing a loss of 101,102 visitors for the year.

The figures indicate that the third country visitor's declined by 19% and Indian by 32% during the period.

The first five months of 2001 show positive results in arrivals but series of unpredictable incidents at home and abroad have marred the arrival scenario in Nepal ever since. Tourist arrival in Nepal was quite satisfactory up until the first quarter of 2001. However the decline that started after the second quarter continued sharply till the yearend.

There are some internal and external factors that are mainly responsible for such a decline.

The Royal Tragedy: The royal tragedy of Nepal in June 1st 2001, brought along the sadness and sorrow in the average Nepalese life. That was reflected on every aspects of life with the periods of mourning leading to slackness in economy. Tourism industry was worst hit due to the fact.

September 11th attack: The September 11th terrorist attack in the United States of America exacerbated a global economy that was already in decline and tourism industry throughout the world also had to face its downturn. Nepal is no exception.

War against Terrorism: As US declared war against terrorism especially in Afghanistan and operations in and around the area there has been widespread reluctance to long haul travel among the tourists. This has also brought slackness in tourist arrival in Nepal.

Indo-Pak Tension: As the tension between India and Pakistan started growing up and the world media attention has focused on the regions security, travelers seem more hesitant to travel in the region.

Domestic Crisis: After the state of emergency has been declared into the country in November 26th, 2001 security forces have been mobilized and state of the nation has become more secured. But the word "emergency" has sent the message that Nepal is an unsafe destination, which is not true in all respect. The government is trying to ensure the security of tourist in all possible respect as no untoward incident has happened with tourist visiting Nepal. But there is still reluctance among tourist willing to visit Nepal specially questioning the safety aspect.

RNAC closes for European sector: Ever since RNAC, the national carrier stopped operating in the European sector, it has created a huge barrier in the accessibility to Nepal from Europe. This has also affected the arrival to Nepal in 2001 from Europe.

Note this is a press release from the Nepal Tourism Board.

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