Nepal mulls free visa for Chinese tourists

Nepal is mulling waiving visa fees for Chinese tourists to increase the arrival of visitors from the country.

Kathmandu: Nepal is mulling waiving visa
fees for Chinese tourists to increase the arrival of visitors
from the country, amid a major campaign to boost the tourism
sector which is still reeling under the impact of a decade-
long Maoist insurgency that ended in 2006.

Tourism Minister Sharad Singh Bhandari today said the
government was working to offer free visa entry facility to
Chinese tourists.

Addressing the 18th national convention of Nepal
Association of Tour and Travel Agents (NATTA), Bhandari said
the government is working towards waiving the visa fee for
Chinese tourists in order to promote tourism, as the country
launched `Nepal Tourism Year 2011` campaign on January 14.

The campaign aims to attract one million tourists to
the country, including 265,000 Indians and 100,000 Chinese

A record number of tourists flew to Nepal last year,
with most of the growth coming from its two giant neighbours
India and China, according to official figures.

At the launch of the `Nepal Tourism Year` campaign,
Prime Minister Madhav Nepal had said the government will
specially focus on the neighbouring markets of India and

"We are focusing on the development of tourism to
generate more employment so that our youths need not go abroad
for jobs," he said earlier this month.

Presently, the government has been providing 30 days
gratis visa to tourists for one time visit. It is applicable
to tourists from Bangladesh, Bhutan, Maldives, Pakistan and
Sri Lanka.

No visa is required for visitors from India as the two
close neighbours have an open border under the 1950 Indo-Nepal
Peace and Friendship Treaty.

The tourism sector is the largest foreign exchange
earner for the country. It was expected that with the end of
the Maoists-led insurgency, the country`s tourism sector would
get a boost.

However, the country has been faced with political and
economic instability that has impacted the tourism sector.

Nearly seven months after the 22-party coalition led
by Prime Minister Nepal collapsed, 16 rounds of Parliament
vote has failed to elect a new leader, stalling the 2006 peace
process and drafting of a new constitution.


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