Arpana Ale Magar, The Himalayan Times, August 11, 2019
The Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation has failed to achieve major targets set for the tourism sector in the government’s 14th national plan.
Progress report of the 14th national plan revealed by the MoCTCA on August 6 showed that the target set for increasing the number of tourists had not been met. As per official records, a total of 701,000 tourists visited Nepal in fiscal 2015-16. Based on this, the government had set a target of bringing in 800,000 visitors in fiscal 2016-17, one million in 2017-18 and 1.2 million in 2018-19.
However, in fiscal 2016-17 only 753,002 tourists visited the country.
Likewise, the country received only 940,000 tourists in 2017-18 and 1.1 million visitors in 2018-19.
The ministry also failed to achieve the target set for foreign exchange earnings. Based on the earnings of fiscal 2015-16 — $497 million — the government had set a target of earning $594 million in 2016-17, $800 million in 2017-18 and $1.08 billion in 2018-19. However, in 2016-17 the country earned $510 million from the tourism sector. Likewise, in fiscal 2017-18 and in 2018-19, the country earned $620 million and $670 million respectively.
Similarly, the ministry failed to achieve the target for duration of average stay per tourist set in the 14th national plan.
Based on the length of average stay in fiscal 2015-16 — 12.4 days — the government had set a target of increasing the average stay per tourist to 13.5 days in 2016-17, 14 days in 2017-18 and 15 days in 2018-19.
Although the length of average stay reached 13.4 days in fiscal 2016-17, it dropped to 12.6 days in 2017-18 and slipped further to 12.4 days in 2018-19.
Even the target of per day expenses per tourist was not met.
As mentioned in the report, based on per day expenses per tourist in fiscal 2015-16 — $53 — the government had set a target of achieving per day expense of $55 per traveller in 2016-17, $58 in 2017-18 and $60 in 2018-19. However, per day expense per tourist reached only $53 in 2016- 17, $54 in 2017-18 and dropped to $44 in 2018-19. This has affected the contribution of the tourism sector to the country’s gross domestic product.
Although, the tourism sector’s contribution to the GDP went up slightly each passing year, the target set in the 14th periodic plan remained unfulfilled.
In fiscal 2015-16, the tourism sector’s contribution to the GDP was 2.6 per cent. Based on this data, the government aimed to increase the sector’s contribution to the GDP to three per cent in 2016-17, 3.5 per cent in 2017-18 and four per cent in 2018-19. However, in fiscal 2016-17, the tourism sector’s contribution to the country’s GDP was only 1.98 per cent. In 2017-18 and 2018-19, the contribution stood at 2.05 per cent and 2.5 per cent, respectively.
Tourism ministry officials said they were unable to comment on the sector’s performance as they were yet to analyse the data.