Tourist flow gradually picking up in Chitwan

The tourism industry of Chitwan, which was hit hard by last year’s earthquake and India’s economic blockade, is gradually picking up.

This is reflected in tourist footfall which is in an upward trend in recent months.

Some 7,842 domestic and international tourists visited Chitwan National Park – a key attraction in the district — in July. The number of tourist visiting the national park was less than 6,000 in June.

Chitwan National Park is the habitat of rare animals like one-horned rhino, Royal Bengal tiger, among others. The national park and adjoining forests in the buffer zone are popular destinations for jungle safari.

To attract more tourists in the Dashain-Tihar festive season, hoteliers in Chitwan have launched attractive packages.

Suman Ghimire, senior vice president of Hotel Association of Nepal, Chitwan Chapter, however, said that growth in tourist numbers is lower compared to past years. The national park on average receives around 10,000 visitors a month, said Ghimire. “We are hopeful that there will be increase in the number of tourists during Dashain and Tihar festivals,” he added.

The poor condition of Muglin-Naraynghat road has also affected the number of tourists visiting the district, according to local hoteliers. “Because of the ongoing maintenance works, tourists have to stay inside their vehicles for hours. This is diverting potential tourists to other destinations,” they added.

Some hoteliers, however, say that the growth in tourist arrivals should be seen as improvement as the district had received only 2,179 visitors in July last year.

The number of tourists normally decreases after July and starts to pick up from September when the country’s peak tourist season starts.

Chitwan had received more than 10,000 tourists in April. In the same month last year, more than 12,000 tourists had visited the district. After the earthquake of 2015, however, monthly numbers has not exceeded 10,000.

Ghimire, however, said hotel booking for the coming season is good. “If everything goes right, Sauraha will see more tourists this year,” he added.

Sauraha is a tourist town seated on the edge of the Chitwan National Park. There are around 150 jungle lodges in Sauraha.

Sabin Poudel, general manager of Jungle Villa Resort, said he was hopeful that the attractive packages introduced by hotels will help to increase tourist numbers in the coming months. myrepublica