Tourism in Nepal
Tourism in Nepal has always allured visitors by its unparallel natural beauty and rich cultural heritage .Located in South Asia, Nepal-a land Locked country had Tibet –China to its North and India to its East, West and South as immediate neighbors. Nepal has always remained a sovereign state throughout its history .The country opened its doors to the foreigners in 1949 when Himalayan mountaineering expeditions were allowed for the first rime from Nepal. The successful ascent of Annapurna (8091m) and Maurice Herzog and Louis Lachaenal in 1950 and later the successful ascent of Mt Everest (8848m) the highest peak in earth by Sir Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgey Sherpa in 1953 gave Nepal instant publicity across the world. The period 1950-196 is termed as golden era of climbing in Himalayas when all the highest 8000 meter peaks were climbed .The account of the early mountaineering and explorers caught world attention and soon tourism started flourishing in Nepal. Initially it was the trekkers who followed the trails pioneered by the early mountaineers .Later fascinated by the accounts of great cultural and geographical diversity people with varied interest started making Nepal as their choice for a holiday destination. Highest mountain in the world, thundering Himalayan rivers green valleys, mid hills and Terai plains makes Nepal one of the most bio –diversity rich countries in the world.19.70% of the total area of the country Nepal is covered by protected areas that include nine national parks, three wildlife reserves, one hunting reserve and three conservation area and eleven buffer Zones .Among these Sagarmatha National Parks in Himalayas and Chitwan National Park in Terai are the world heritage areas.
Kathmandu Valley with 7 world heritage sites), Lumbini –birth place of Lord Buddha , Pokhara –the lake city and Chitwan National Park are the Popular tourist places among several others. Nepal is fast emerging as great holiday destinations .The warm hospitality of the Nepalese people has drawn praises from visitors across the globe .A total of 5, 26,705 tourists visited Nepal during 2008 representing as increase of 37.2% over the previous year .Tourist arrivals to Nepal for 2007 were largely from Asia (57.8%) ,Western Europe (3.2%), Australia and Pacific (2.8%),South and Central America (1.2%) and from Africa (0.3%) .The highest number of arrivals is from India comprising 18.2% of the total .Average length of stay was recorded to be 11.96 days .The gross foreign exchange from tourism in 2008 stood at USD 230.6 million, which represented an increase of 41.7% over 2006.
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