TORONTO — The Nepal Tourism Board hosted an intimate breakfast for media and industry partners this morning to spread the word that Nepal has not only recovered from the 2015 earthquake that struck much of the country, it’s also thriving.
According to Khadga Bikram Shah, Manager of the Nepal Tourism Board, tourism numbers have fully recovered, from 538,970 tourists in 2015, the year of the earthquake, to just under one million in 2017. Of that number, over 15,000 were Canadian.
Bikram Shah told Travelweek that Canada continues to be an important market for Nepal. “Europe and the United States are our biggest markets, but Canadians are also very important to us. Nepal is very well suited to Canadian interests, with our beautiful mountains, rivers and incredible wildlife.”
He also noted that following the earthquake, Nepal wasn’t hit as hard as people thought. “All our highways remained intact, and our airports were operational, only closing for a few hours. In fact, the only structures that were ruined were ancient monuments and older buildings,” he said. “Everything is fine now, and we’re open for business.”
Here are 10 things you didn’t know about Nepal:
1. Nepal is sandwiched between two large countries: China and India. Though small in size, it’s big in heart, said Bikram Shah.
2. It is home to the Buddhist pilgrimage site of Lumbini, birthplace of The Buddha.
3. Nepal is also the home of Kumari, the world’s only living Goddess.
4. There are more festivals in Nepal than there are days of the year.
5. There are more gods in Nepal than there are people.
6. Nepal boasts 12 national parks and conservation areas, 1 wildlife reserve, and 1 hunting reserve.
7. In addition to Mount Everest, Nepal has over 8,000 peaks, 327 of which are offered for climbing.
8. Mount Everest is 16x the height of the CN Tower.
9. 23% of the land in Nepal is protected.
10. Thanks to effective conservation efforts, the number of endangered bengal tigers has risen to 198 (as of 2014). By 2022, Nepal has targeted to increase that number to 250. Tourists can visit Chitwan and Bardia national parks to see tigers.
Canadians can reach Nepal from Toronto in as little as 20 hours (including layovers) with: Etihad, China Southern, Jet Airways, Korean Air, Singapore Airlines, Cathay Pacific, Turkish Airlines and more.
For more information on travel to Nepal go to welcomenepal.com.