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Nepal tourist arrivals rise in November on peace hopes

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dpa German Press Agency
Published: Tuesday December 5, 2006

Kathmandu- After three months of falls in the number of arriving tourists, the number of arrivals finally rebounded by almost 7 per cent in November, according to data released Tuesday by the Nepal Tourism Board (NTB). According to the data, the number of visitors who came to Nepal in November totalled 29,407, among whom 23 per cent were from India, 11 per cent from Japan, eight per cent from Great Britain, 6.8 per cent from the United States and 5.9 per cent from Germany.

Despite the ceasefire and apparent peace that came with the Seven Party Alliance taking over power from King Gyanendra in late April, there was gloom in the tourism sector as tourist arrivals fell for three consecutive months previously.

Compared to the corresponding month last year, tourist arrivals fell by 12.2 per cent to 22,813 in August, by 7.4 per cent to 25,484 in September and by 4.4 per cent to 36,851 per cent in October.

An official of the Nepal Tourism Board, the country's apex tourism body, said the November tourism arrivals were "very positive" and that the tourism industry was once again gaining momentum. He attributed the rise to the signing of the peace accord between the government and the Maoists earlier this month.

However, one tourism entrepreneur said the security situation in the country was still "not all that good," with daylight robbery taking place even in the capital and until the situation improves, the growth would only be marginal.

Nepal, once considered Shangri-La, had the best tourism year in 1999 when almost half a million tourists visited the country. Since 2000, tourist arrivals in Nepal fell, with 2002 being the worst year when only 215,922 tourists visited the Himalayan country.

© 2006 dpa German Press Agency