KATHMANDU: Nepal’s private carrier Himalaya Airlines has entered into to the China market with the maiden flight to Chongqing, a major tourist city of the People’s Republic of China.

The carrier will be providing charter service every Thursday on Chongqing to Kathmandu sector. Himalaya is the only airline operating direct flights between the two cities.

“China is one of our target markets. We are excited to expand our footprints there, allowing us to provide greater options for business and leisure travelers. We are proud to be the first and only airline to offer direct service from Chongqing, China to Kathmandu,” said Vijay Shrestha, Vice President – Administration of Himalaya Airlines.

“We are confident that this route will boost passenger traffic as we expect a good demand from Chongqing, which has a sizeable population of affluent out-bound travelers. Himalaya will be instrumental in bringing more Chinese tourists to Nepal and helping the tourism economy of both countries.”

Chongqing, one of the centrally administered municipalities in China along with Beijing, Shanghai and Tianjin offers remarkable attractions to visitors. Chongqing known for its rich history and cultural heritage, serves as an economic and manufacturing center apart from being the transportation hub for Southwest China.

China has placed Nepal as a new leisure destination, which is one of the driving reasons for increased Chinese visitors into Nepal over the past two years. The number of Chinese travelling to Nepal has grown tremendously after the country suffered a severe earthquake in 2015 followed by the border blockade that kept the tourists away.
China is presently the second largest tourist arrival market for Nepal with109,497 visitors for 2018 (Jan to Sept) showing the growth of 48.8 percent over the same period of 2017.

Additionally the airline plans to extend its focus on China connectivity by adding up other cities like Beijing, Haikou and Nanchang in the next phase.

Established in August 2014, Himalaya Airlines, a Nepal China joint venture, is a private airline of Nepal providing international air services. It currently flies to four destinations–Doha, Kuala Lumpur, Dubai and Dammam using three Airbus A320 jets.