Chinese Tourists: Zero Business For Nepali Businessmen
Due to infectious coronavirus disease, the tourism business of Nepal has slowed down in the last few years.
So, a total of 181 Chinese tourists made a land at the Tribhuvan International Airport (TIA), Kathmandu on a chartered flight to celebrate Nepali New Year 2080 BS. Later, this topic got a good place in the media. Minister of Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation Sudan Kiranti, Chinese Ambassador to Nepal Chen Song had welcomed the Chinese tourists with garlands.
Minister Kirati responded excitedly that the door to Chinese tourists has opened in Nepal’s tourism sector. He also said that China’s contribution to the development of Nepal’s tourism sector has begun.
However, tourism professionals have the opposite experience as mentioned by the Minister of Tourism. According to businessmen, even if Chinese tourists come to Nepal, there is not much benefit. The reason for that is that Chinese tourists dont gives priorities to Nepali businessmen. The Chinese tourists prefers Chinese businessmen in Nepal.Pokhara tourism businessman Hari Bastakoti says that because Chinese tourists do not give priority to Nepali businessmen, their arrival is not beneficial.
“Chinese tourists come by plane to their country and return on the same plane. Even in Nepal, they stay in Chinese hotels and eat in Chinese restaurants. Even if they have to buy something, they buy it in a Chinese shop,” he said. “In this way, the money they spend on Nepal goes back to China. And how did Nepal benefit from the arrival of Chinese tourists?”
He argues that even if Chinese tourists come visits any country in the world, they give priority to Chinese investment and because of the strategy of returning that money to China wherever they spend, it wont give any benefits to the country where they travels. He said that Nepal’s farmers and businessmen will get profit only if Chinese tourists stay in the hotels of Nepali businessmen and if they consume the products here.
Another veteran tourism businessman Ganesh Bhattarai says that now Nepal should move towards quality tourism rather than mass tourism. “Chinese and Indian religious tourists who come to Nepal for a short time do not spend much, those who come for a long time only spend a little,” he said. There has been a decrease in the number of tourists from Western countries due to the Russia-Ukraine war. “Even though Chinese and Indian tourists have started coming now, the balance has not been reached yet.”
Bhattarai says that even though Nepal is not in a position to accept quality tourism like Bhutan, it can bring in tourists by cooperating with the world’s main tours and travels. “For quality tourism, it is necessary for the government and concerned agencies to formulate plans and policies,” he said.
According to the Nepal Tourism Board, 165,000 Chinese tourists came in 2019. Since then, the number of Chinese tourists has decreased due to the infectious coronavirus disease. However, the Chinese government had kept Nepal on the list of destinations since March 10. This is the first group to come to Nepal after it kept Nepal to destination country.
Last January, 55 thousand 74 tourists came to visit Nepal by plane. In January 2022, 16 thousand 436 tourists from different countries came to Nepal. During the year 2022, 614,000 tourists from different countries visited Nepal by plane. Before the corona pandemic, India was the first country and China was second, from where tourists used to visit in Nepal. Fewer Chinese tourists have come since the epidemic.
According to the Tourism Board, 16 thousand 436 tourists from India, 6 thousand 561 from America, 3 thousand 441 from Australia, and 2 thousand 468 from Bangladesh visited Nepal in the last January.