‘Nepal should target tourists from MENA’

April 28, 2018

Apr 28, 2018-Nepal can attract a sizeable number of Arabian travellers from the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region given its diverse tourism products and increased enthusiasm for adventure  tourism, the Nepal Tourism Board (NTB) has said.  However, the board stated that strong digital marketing along with promotional programmes and activities were required to attract high-end visitors from the oil-rich nations.

Recently, NTB, the national tourism promotional body, participated at the Arabian Travel Mart (ATM) in Dubai—one of the largest tourism fair in the MENA region—and concluded that an increasing number of visitors are keen on exploring adventure destinations like Nepal. Under the theme ‘Responsible Tourism’, the mart attracted over 2,500 exhibitors from 153 countries. According to the organiser, deals worth over $2.5 billion were signed during the event.

“More and more visitors are keen on exploring adventure destinations like Nepal,” said tour operators in Saudi Arabia participating at the event. “To attract the high-end market segment of the GCC countries, Nepal should focus on creating customised itineraries and catering to the specific needs of the visitors such as Arabic speaking tour guides, halal food, special interest and luxurious services,” the operators said.

Nepal is already popular as an adventure destination in GCC as Prince Bandar Bin Khalid Bin Fahd of Saudi Arabia successfully climbed Mt Everest on May 19, 2012, and reportedly became the first Saudi Arabian to climb seven summits and the highest peaks in all seven continents.

Similarly, Raha Moharrak became the first Saudi woman to climb the tallest mountain on May 18, 2013.

The private participants at the show agreed that MENA could provide a huge boost to arrival numbers and improve the fortunes of Nepal’s tourism industry if NTB organises more tourism promotion events in the Middle East and place higher priority on digital promotion.

According to the latest data, more than 40 million tourists from the Middle East travelled as international visitors and the numbers are growing at 5 percent every year. The UAE alone sees 4 million travelling abroad as tourists.