Kathmandu, Dec 26 (IANS) Nepali officials have expressed the hope that waiving visa application fees for Chinese tourists will be helpful in boosting tourism in the Himalayan country after a devastating earthquake in April.
Nepal received 150,000 Chinese tourists in 2014 while the number stood at 46,000 in 2010, Xinhua cited the civil aviation and tourism ministry as saying on Saturday.
Dinesh Chandra Thapaliya, secretary of the ministry, said the new policy of waiving visa fees to Chinese nationals visiting Nepal will come into effect from early 2016.
He also thanked the Chinese government for lifting a travel advisory issued to the citizens visiting Nepal.
During a meeting between Nepal’s deputy Prime Minister Kamal Thapa, who is also in-charge of foreign affairs, and Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi in Beijing on Friday, the two countries pledged to boost tourism cooperation.
On the occasion, Nepal announced waiving visa application fees for Chinese citizens travelling to the country while the Chinese side decided to lift the travel alert to Nepal following the April 25 earthquake.
“The Nepali government will take a formal decision very soon regarding waiver of visa application fees for Chinese nationals visiting Nepal,” Thapaliya said.
“The number of Chinese tourists to come to Nepal has been soaring in the past few years. We expect more Chinese tourists in the country in the coming years,” he said.
Under Nepal’s current laws, nationals from the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation countries do not need to pay visa fees (if visiting Nepal for a period of less than one month) unless they are entering Nepal from a third country.