Tourism Industry in Nepal

History of the Tourism Industry

Tourism can be traced back to ancient times when people visited sacred sites, sought out new experiences, or traded goods. However, with the advent of improved transportation and the development of infrastructure to support travel, the modern tourism industry as we know it began to take shape during the nineteenth century.

The development of rail travel in Europe and the United States during the nineteenth century made it easier and more affordable for people to travel, and the first luxury resorts and hotels began to appear. The industry expanded further with the invention of the aeroplane and the widespread availability of automobiles in the early twentieth century.


The tourism industry expanded significantly during the 1950s and 1960s as more people travelled for pleasure. This was aided by the development of package tours, the expansion of the middle class, and the global economy’s growth. This expansion also brought more diverse travel options, such as adventure and eco-tourism, as well as all-inclusive resorts and cruises. The rise of the Internet and online booking in the late twentieth century made planning and booking travel arrangements easier. This has continued to shape the industry in the twenty-first century. The tourism industry has grown to contribute to the global economy, employing millions worldwide significantly.

It is worth noting that the industry has seen its fair share of crises, such as the 9/11 attack, SARS, the global economic recession, and, most recently, the covid-19 pandemic, all of which have had a significant impact on the industry. Still, it always recovers and adapts to changing scenarios.

History of the Tourism industry in Nepal

The tourism industry in Nepal dates back to the early twentieth century when the country opened its doors to foreign visitors. Mountaineers, hikers, and other adventure travellers were drawn to the country’s natural beauty, which included the Himalayas and diverse culture. Nepal’s government began actively promoting tourism as a means of economic development in the 1950s. In 1951, Kathmandu saw the establishment of the country’s first tourism office, and in 1955, a five-year tourism development plan was launched. The 1960s saw the establishment of the country’s leading tourist hotels as well as the establishment of a national airline.

The number of tourists visiting Nepal increased significantly in the 1970s as the country became a popular destination for trekkers, hikers, and mountaineers. The government has promoted tourism to develop the economy and improve infrastructure.

Nepal experienced a period of political unrest in the late 1980s and early 1990s, significantly impacting tourism in the country. Only in the early 2000s did the situation stabilize, and tourism began to reoccur. Nepal’s tourism industry has faced numerous challenges, including political instability, natural disasters, and competition from neighbouring countries. Despite these obstacles, the industry has continued to grow and evolve. Nepal is now a popular destination for those seeking adventure, trekkers, mountaineers, and those interested in the country’s culture and history. For many Nepalese, the industry has become an essential source of income and employment.

Furthermore, the industry contributed to promoting and preserving local culture and tradition and creating economic opportunities in remote areas of the country, thereby achieving a balance between economic growth and conservation.

Tourism Industry and its Types

The tourism industry is a group of companies and services involved in the planning, developing, and managing of travel and tourism experiences. This includes various businesses, hotels, airlines, tour operators, travel agents, theme parks, and cultural and natural attractions. Transportation, customer service, and marketing are examples of related support services. The tourism industry aims to provide memorable experiences for travelers while promoting destinations and tourism products to potential customers.

The industry comprises various sectors, including inbound and outbound tourism, transportation, lodging, food and beverage, attractions, events, etc. Some jobs available in the tourism industry include tourist guides, tour operators, hotels, restaurants, transportation, and travel agencies.

The tourism industry can be broadly divided into several types, catering to different travellers and offering unique experiences. Some of the main types of tourism include:

  1. Adventure Tourism: This tourism involves trekking, hiking, mountaineering, skiing, and other outdoor sports. It is popular among travellers who enjoy challenging physical activities and want to experience the natural beauty of a destination.
  2. Cultural Tourism: This type of tourism focuses on a destination’s culture, history, and traditions. It includes visiting museums, temples, and historical sites, attending cultural events, and learning about local customs and practices.
  3. Ecotourism: This type of tourism is focused on preserving the natural environment and promoting sustainable travel. It includes wildlife safari, bird watching, and visiting national parks and protected areas.
  4. Heritage Tourism: This tourism involves visiting historical and cultural heritage sites, such as monuments, castles, and other landmarks. It is focused on preserving and promoting the cultural heritage of a destination.
  5. Medical Tourism: This type of tourism involves travelling to a destination for medical treatment. It is popular among travellers seeking specialized medical treatments or procedures that may not be available in their home country.
  6. Business Tourism: This type of tourism is focused on travel related to business activities, such as attending conferences, trade shows, and meetings.
  7. Cruise Tourism: This type of tourism involves travelling on a cruise ship for leisure, often visiting multiple destinations.
  8. Beach Tourism: This type of tourism is focused on visiting destinations known for their beaches, famous for activities such as swimming, sunbathing, and water sports.
  9. Ski Tourism: This type of tourism is focused on visiting destinations known for skiing, snowboarding, and other winter sports.
  10. Agritourism: This type of tourism focuses on visiting and learning about rural areas, often involving farming, gardening and other agricultural activities.

These are just a few examples of the many types of tourism that exist, and the industry is constantly evolving to meet travellers’ changing needs and preferences.

Tourism Industry in Nepal

Nepal is a country rich in natural beauty and cultural diversity, making it a popular tourist destination for people worldwide. Nepal’s tourism industry has a long and rich history, dating back to the early twentieth century when the country opened its doors to foreign visitors. It is now one of Nepal’s primary sources of income and employment, contributing significantly to the country’s economy.

Over the years, the Nepalese government has actively promoted tourism as a means of economic development and has tried to develop the tourism industry. In 1951, Kathmandu saw the establishment of the country’s first tourism office, and in 1955, a five-year tourism development plan was launched. The 1960s saw the establishment of the country’s major tourist hotels as well as the establishment of a national airline.


In recent years, the tourism industry in Nepal has grown steadily, and it has become an essential source of income and employment for many people in the country. According to the Nepal Tourism Board, the tourism industry is expected to account for 7.5% of the country’s GDP in 2020. Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, the number of tourists visiting Nepal has increased significantly, with 1.7 million expected to visit the country in 2020.

The natural beauty of Nepal, including the Himalayas, and its diverse culture are the main draws for tourists. The most popular activities are trekking, hiking, and mountaineering, and Nepal is home to some of the world’s highest peaks, including Mount Everest, the highest mountain in the world. The country is also known for its rich cultural heritage, and visitors can explore ancient temples, stupas, and monasteries and learn about the Nepalese people’s unique customs and traditions.

However, the tourism industry faces political insecurity, natural disasters, and competition from neighbouring countries. The tourism industry suffered a significant setback due to the 2015 earthquake, which damaged many popular tourist destinations and had a long-term impact on the industry.

Despite these obstacles, Nepal’s tourism industry continues to grow and evolve. The government has implemented policies and programs to promote sustainable tourism, intending to balance economic growth with environmental and cultural heritage conservation. It also supports regional development and job creation in remote and underdeveloped areas of the country.

Finally, the tourism industry in Nepal is critical to the country’s economy and society. It creates jobs and income, promotes infrastructure development, protects cultural heritage, and contributes to the peace and stability of the country. The industry has faced numerous challenges, but it has continued to adapt and evolve, and it is a source of pride for the Nepalese people.

Importance of Tourism in Nepal

Let’s uncover the importance of tourism in Nepal in the following ten points:

  1. Economic Development: The tourism industry significantly contributes to Nepal’s economy, providing employment and income to many people. According to the Nepal Tourism Board, the tourism industry is expected to account for 7.5% of the country’s GDP in 2020.
  2. Foreign Exchange Earnings: Tourism contributes significantly to Nepal’s foreign exchange earnings. Visitors bring valuable currency, which can be used to pay for imports and service external debt.
  3. Employment: Tourism generates employment in various industries, including hotels, transportation, food service, and tour operations. It also opens up new revenue streams for small businesses and entrepreneurs.
  4. Infrastructure Development: Tourism can help to promote infrastructure development, such as roads, airports, and telecommunications. This can benefit both tourists and residents.
  5. Preservation of Culture and Heritage: By supporting the conservation of historical sites, temples, and other cultural assets, the tourism industry can help to preserve and promote Nepal’s cultural heritage.
  6. Environmental Protection: By promoting sustainable practices and supporting conservation initiatives, the tourism industry can also help to protect Nepal’s natural environment.
  7. Social and Cultural Exchange: Tourism can bring people from different cultures together to meet, interact, and learn from one another. This helps foster understanding and tolerance among other societies.
  8. Regional Development: Tourism can help remote or underdeveloped regions develop by creating jobs and income-generating opportunities.
  9. Promotion of Peace and Stability: By creating jobs and income-generating opportunities, a thriving tourism industry can help to promote peace and stability. It can also serve as a diplomatic tool by encouraging people to travel to other countries and learn about their cultures, customs, and way of life.
  10. Opportunities for Research and Education: Tourism can also offer opportunities for research and education. It can produce data on tourism trends, visitor behaviour, and preferences for academic research and industry training programs.

Problems of the Tourism Industry in Nepal

Nepal’s tourism industry faces many challenges and problems that can hinder its growth and development. Some of the main problems of the Tourism Industry in Nepal include the following:

  1. Political instability: Nepal has a history of political unrest, occasionally resulting in travel advisories and disruptions in the tourism industry. This can make tourism businesses challenging to plan and operate, discouraging potential visitors from visiting the country.
  2. Insufficient infrastructure: The country needs more infrastructure to accommodate the increasing number of tourists. This includes more modern facilities and amenities, limited accommodations and poor road conditions.
  3. Natural Disasters: Natural disasters such as floods, landslides, earthquakes, and others are common in Nepal. These can severely damage tourism infrastructure and cause travel and tourism disruptions.
  4. Limited marketing and promotion: The country’s tourism promotion and marketing budget could be improved, making it difficult for the industry to compete with other destinations.
  5. Lack of skilled workforce: The industry is experiencing a labour shortage, making it difficult for businesses to operate fully and provide high-quality services to visitors.
  6. Unsustainable tourism practices: Many tourism activities in Nepal rely on natural resources, causing environmental degradation and ecosystem destruction.
  7. Scarcity of basic amenities: Many tourist destinations in Nepal need more amenities such as electricity and clean water, making it difficult for visitors to enjoy their stay.
  8. Limited access to finance: Many small and medium-sized tourism businesses need more financing, making it difficult to invest in new equipment, facilities, or services.
  9. The exploitation of local culture and heritage: Some tourism activities may misrepresent or commercialize local culture and heritage, resulting in a cultural disconnect.
  10. Limited coordination among stakeholders: A lack of coordination among government agencies, the private sector, and local communities can hinder the tourism industry’s long-term development.

Possibilities and Prospects of Tourism in Nepal

Tourism in Nepal has enormous growth and development potential. The country has the world’s highest mountains, including Mount Everest, and a diverse range of natural landscapes, ranging from lush tropical jungles to the arid Tibetan plateau. Nepal has a rich cultural heritage, including many ancient temples, monasteries, and palaces, a vibrant traditional arts and crafts scene, and natural attractions. Nepal is a unique tourist destination due to its unique combination of natural and cultural resources.

The Nepalese government has recognized the potential of tourism and has been working hard to promote and develop the industry. The government has been working to improve tourism infrastructure and attract more investment in the industry. These efforts include the construction of new airports, the improvement of roads, and the construction of more hotels and other tourist facilities.


Recent tourism trends also favour Nepal’s development in this field. The shift in tourism interests toward sustainable and responsible tourism, adventure and experiential travel, cultural immersion, and less-crowded destinations represents Nepal’s opportunity. Another promising trend is the increase in tourism from neighbouring countries such as India, China, and the Gulf nations. Furthermore, the government promotes sustainable tourism practices to protect and preserve the country’s natural and cultural heritage. In addition, they are working to provide training and education to local communities to promote entrepreneurship and income-generating opportunities in the tourism industry.

The location of Nepal between two rapidly developing countries, India and China, presents opportunities for tourism development by capitalizing on the potential of these large markets. Nepal’s potential as a transit point for travellers between the two countries is also significant, as is the possibility of developing joint tourism packages with those countries.

Nepal has a rich natural and cultural heritage and diverse tourism opportunities, making it a unique and appealing tourist destination. The Nepalese government has been actively promoting and developing the industry, and recent tourism trends support the growth of tourism in Nepal. Nepal has great potential to develop its tourism industry and become a significant destination for travellers worldwide if it addresses the challenges and builds on its strengths.

Internal Promotion of Tourism in Nepal

Promoting tourism within a country, also known as domestic tourism, can be just as crucial as attracting international visitors. In the case of Nepal, the internal promotion of tourism can boost the country’s economy by encouraging citizens to explore and appreciate the natural and cultural treasures within their country.

Targeted marketing campaigns are one way to promote domestic tourism in Nepal. The Nepal Tourism Board and other tourism organizations can collaborate with local media outlets to develop advertising campaigns highlighting Nepal’s attractions and promoting domestic travel. This can be accomplished through television commercials, print advertisements, and social media campaigns.

Another way to promote domestic tourism in Nepal is through education and awareness programs. The Nepal Tourism Board can work with schools and universities to teach students about the country’s history, culture, and natural resources. Additionally, they can provide training programs for local guides and tour operators to help them better understand the country’s attractions and how to promote them.

The government can also promote domestic tourism by developing infrastructure and incentivizing domestic travellers. This can include constructing and improving roads and public transportation and the provision of tax breaks or other incentives to local businesses catering to domestic tourists.

Another effective way to promote domestic tourism in Nepal is by creating packages that cater to the diverse population of Nepal. For example, Nepalese living in the mountains may be more inclined to explore other parts of the mountain range. Similarly, those living in the Terai region may be more interested in exploring the hill regions.

In conclusion, promoting domestic tourism in Nepal can significantly impact the country’s economy by encouraging citizens to explore and appreciate the natural and cultural treasures within their own country. Domestic tourism in Nepal can be effectively promoted through targeted marketing campaigns, education and awareness programs, infrastructure development, and tourism packages tailored to the diverse population.

Data regarding Tourism in Nepal

Nepal Tourism Statistics – Historical Data

Nepal Tourism Statistics – Historical Chart

The number of tourists visiting Nepal in 2020 was 238,000,000, a 70.29% decrease from 2019. The number of tourists visiting Nepal in 2019 was 801,000,000.00, up 8.24% from 2018. The number of tourists visiting Nepal in 2018 was 740,000,000.00, up 3.93% from 2017. The number of tourists visiting Nepal in 2017 was 712,000,000.00, up 42.97% from 2016.


Essay on Tourism in Nepal

Nepal is a small landlocked country in South Asia, sandwiched between India and China. It is well-known for its diverse culture, stunning scenery, and rich history. Nepal is renowned for its trekking and mountaineering opportunities and is a popular adventure tourist destination.

Nepal’s tourism industry is a significant source of revenue for the country. After agriculture and remittances, it is the third-largest contributor to the country’s GDP. Locals are also employed by the industry, particularly in trekking, mountaineering, and hospitality.

Nepal’s natural beauty is one of its main draws. The country is home to the Himalayas, the world’s highest mountain range, and offers some of the best trekking and mountaineering opportunities. The Annapurna Circuit, Everest Base Camp Trek, and Langtang Valley Trek are among the most popular trekking routes. Mountaineers visit Nepal to climb Mount Everest, the world’s highest peak, and other peaks above 8,000 meters.

Nepal is also a popular cultural tourism destination. The country is home to many ancient temples and monasteries and is an excellent place to learn about the local culture and traditions. Visitors can immerse themselves in local culture by visiting temples such as Kathmandu’s Pashupatinath Temple, Swayambhunath Stupa, and Boudhanath Stupa. Wildlife safari is another popular activity in Nepal. Nepal has numerous animal and bird species, including the Bengal tiger, one-horned rhinoceros, elephant, and pheasant. Chitwan National Park, Bardia National Park, and Koshi Tappu Wildlife Reserve are among the country’s national parks and wildlife reserves.

Having said that, Nepal is lovely, with a diverse landscape and rich culture. It is a popular destination for adventure tourists, with activities such as trekking, mountaineering, cultural tourism, and wildlife safari available. Tourism is a significant source of revenue for the country and employs locals. It is an excellent destination for those seeking adventure and the opportunity to explore Nepal’s natural and cultural beauty.

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