Staff, 2022-12-15 20:27:28,
In the first quarter of 2018, China overtook long-time record-holder India as the largest sender of tourists to Nepal. Industry sources attributed the surge in Chinese arrivals to a warmer policy towards Nepal after the formation of a left alliance government in Kathmandu.
Chinese arrivals also shot up after flight frequencies between the two countries expanded as more Chinese airlines started adding Kathmandu to their networks.
Five Chinese carriers—Air China, China Southern, China Eastern, Sichuan Airlines and Tibet Airlines—began services to Nepal. Overland connections also improved.
In 2017, the Rasuwagadhi-Kerung border point was upgraded to an international crossing point with the aim of developing it as a major portal linking China to the whole of South Asia. Tourists too started streaming into Nepal through this transit point.
Since January 2016, Nepal has been providing free visas to Chinese tourists, putting them on par with SAARC nationals.
Analysts say Chinese travel interest in Nepal was set off by the release of a Chinese movie ‘Up in the Wind’ in 2013. Shot in the tourist spots of Kathmandu, Pokhara and Chitwan, the film made Nepal popular among Chinese travellers, and arrivals turned into a torrent, particularly to Pokhara in the Annapurna foothills.
Pokhara saw more Chinese visitors than Kathmandu, and many Chinese tourist guidebooks listed the lakeside city as one of the “top ten places in the world to see before you die”.
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