Nepal records over 1 million tourists in 2018
KATHMANDU: Tourism in Nepal shot up by nearly 25 per cent, crossing one million tourists in 2018, according to the country's Tourism Board on Tuesday.
The increase marked a period of recovery, following a devastating earthquake in 2015 that had left around 9,000 dead and severely affected tourism, a major contributor to the country's GDP.
"After the devastating tsunami of 2015, Nepal has regularly appeared in different foreign publications and the media as one of the major destinations to visit. This has greatly helped to attract tourists," Nepal's Tourism Board (NTB) head Deepak Raj Joshi told Efe news.
According to NTB data, 1.17 million tourists visited the Himalayan country in 2018, mostly from India, China, the US, Sri Lanka and European nations.
Tourists from India increased by some 25 per cent compared to 2017, reaching 200,438, while visitors from China stood at 153,602 (47 per cent more) and from the US at 91,785 (16 per cent more).
There were 243,284 arrivals from Europe -- 23 per cent more than 2017 -- led by the UK, Germany and France.
In 2014, Nepal received 790,000 tourists, whereas a year after the tragedy, the numbers dipped to 539,000 foreign visitors, most of them volunteers and rescue team members.
Joshi said tourism was recovering at a rapid pace owing to government initiatives such as the "Visit Nepal 2020" campaign.
With eight of the 14 highest mountain peaks in the world, including the Mt. Everest, Nepal is a popular tourist destination especially for adventure travellers.