NEPAL, 18 July 2017: Nepal’s Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal has given the green light for China’s Tibet Airlines to fly a four weekly service from Chengdu to Kathmandu.
Once the new service starts Kathmandu will be served by five Chinese airlines.
Tourism officials told news channel, Sify.com, that direct flights from China had resulted in a significant increase in tours from China.
The Lhasa-based Tibet Airlines is expected to start its first service to Kathmandu’s Tribhuvan International Airport 20 July.
The other Chinese airlines serving Nepal are: Air China, China Southern, China Eastern and Sichuan Airlines. China Southern offers two daily flights on the Kathmandu-Guangzhou route, while China Eastern flies daily from Kunming and Air China daily from Lhasa.
Sichuan Airlines flies four weekly services from Chengdu to Kathmandu with a stop in Lhasa.
Nepal and China signed a bilateral air services agreement in February 2014, allowing 70 flights a week between the two countries by both Chinese and Nepalese airlines.
China’s leading tour operators are promoting travel to Nepal under the banner of a “Nepal Tourism Promotion Year 2017” campaign. It offers travellers additional incentives such as cheaper travel arrangements.
Earlier in the year, Nepalese tourism entrepreneurs were quoted saying “Nepal Tourism Promotion Year 2017” in China could be vital to revive Nepal’s tourism industry battered by earthquake and an Indian embargo of 2015 to 2016.
China is the second largest tourist source market for Nepal after India. Tourist arrivals from China were increasing substantially before the catastrophic earthquake in April 2015, but arrivals from its northern neighbour dropped sharply after the quake and have still to fully recover.
According to Department of Immigration of Nepal, the Himalayan country received 33,224 Chinese visitors during the first half of 2016 against 39,401 during the same period in 2015, a drop of 28% in arrivals.
Sathi Travel Agency chairman, Kishore Raj Pandey, the first travel agency to bring Chinese tourists in Nepal, said the promotion should improve tourism facilities for tourists in Nepal.
On 25 December, 2015, in an effort to kick-start recovery, the Nepalese government announced the waiver of visa fee for Chinese tourists .
(Source: Sify and Xinhua)