July 21, 2017
Tourist inflow to Chitwan takes a hit as the landslide that took place last week disrupted the Narayanghat-Mugling highway.
With this, tourists who had planned to tour Chitwan started cancelling their trips for other tourist hubs like Pokhara and Bandipur, thus making Chitwan’s popular tourist destinations, such as Shaura, Meghauli, Patihani and Kashara almost vacant.
This is hitting the business of tourism enterprises in Chitwan who claimed of witnessing a sharp decline in their business. Hotel entrepreneurs of the district are worried at the alarming rate of booking cancellations.
“Our business is seriously affected by the road condition. We asked the tourists to return from Mugling as the road to Chitwan was not safe,” says Shyam Kaji Mahat, operator of Hotel Central Park situated at Shaura.
According to Mahat, around 60 Indian tourists left for Pokhara as an alternative. While his hotel has a capacity of 46 rooms, all of them are vacant at the moment.
“Although, this is not a major season for tourist inflow, we used to have 25 to 50 percent occupancy in previous years,” said Suman Ghimire, President of Hotel Association Nepal (HAN) Chitwan Chapter.
More than 100 hotel owners of Shaura are facing a similar issue and the industry that was employing around 2,000 members is on the verge of collapse.
Meanwhile, travel traders are concerned about the ‘golden triangle tour’ that covers Chitwan, Pokhara and Lumbini, a widely popular circuit among sightseers in Nepal. They are worried that one of the components could be removed from the tour packages because of the disastrous condition of the highway linking the destination.
Potential tourists being reluctant to Chitwan packages at international travel mart is also raising concern over the competitive status of safari destination in Chitwan.