Pokhara, one of the main tourism hub of Nepal, has been witnessing an increasing number of domestic tourists.
The number of domestic tourists has gone up all of sudden in Pokhara, which had not welcomed tourists for long due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Although there is no remarkable number of foreign tourists in Pokhara, an increasing number of domestic tourists have been attracted to Pokhara in recent months, said tourism entrepreneurs. Similarly, the number of tourists at Pokhara Bazaar and surrounding rural tourism sites has also increased.
People, who were forced to limit themselves inside the houses for long due to coronavirus pandemic, have now started allocating their time for visiting different touristic sites after the number of coronavirus infected people started decreasing in the country.
Likewise, the movement of domestic tourists has increased in Pokhara as they have been choosing Pokhara as their destination with the start of the vaccination against COVID-19 in the country. People coming to Pokhara visit Phewa Lake, Taalbahari temple, Mahendra cave, Gupteshwor cave, Chamere cave, Patale waterfall. People are also seen enjoying boat ride at Phewa lake and paragliding.
The number of domestic tourists has increased in Pokhara after educational institutions, banks and financial institutions, cooperatives and other organisations across the nation chose Pokhara as a visit programme.
Outgoing Chairperson of Pokhara Tourism Council, Chiranjivi Pokharel, said that number of people visiting Pokhara has started increasing from Dashain and movement of domestic tourists has now increased. Some tourists from third countries and India are now in Pokhara.
Tourism entrepreneurs shared that although Pokhara used to be packed with foreign tourists in main tourism season in previous years, domestic tourists are becoming great relief to them this year. Tourism entrepreneurs said that they have provided different facilities including discount targeting domestic tourists. Different organisations associated with tourism have launched domestic tourism promotion programme, said Pokharel.
He opined that the movement of tourists has increased in Pokhara after the launching of domestic tourists promotion programme and programme attracting domestic tourists should be launched as there was compulsion to depend on domestic tourism still some times.
Paragliding is another attraction for tourists in Pokhara. Paragliding operators have offered concessional prices to the enthusiasts after the Dashain festival in a bid to revive the paragliding which was almost closed due to COVID-19. Crowds of paragliding enthusiasts can be seen at the paragliding spots in Pokhara these days.
Nepal Airsports Association (NAA) said paragliding is drawing a large number of people even in recent days.
The number of visitors has increased in surrounding areas of Pokhara as well of late. It is said the hotels, restaurants and homestay service providers have started getting a good number of visitors. Tourist inflow has increased at Kanhudanda, Sarangkot, Dhampus, Ghandruk, Astam, among other places in Pokhara.
Domestic tourists have started visiting Ghandruk village and the Annapurna base camp since these two famous rural tourism destinations were opened for visitors from January 14 after closing for a long due to the coronavirus pandemic, the Ghandruk Tourism Management Committee said.
Committee chairperson Kisam Gurung said the number of domestic tourists is increasing in Ghandruk after they decided to open the area for visitors by following the health safety standards as the tourism entrepreneurs in their area started going bankrupt due to the closure of their businesses for long.
All the tourism destinations in Gandaki Province which were closed after the shutdown put in place to contain the spread of COVID-19 have come into operation now since January 14, Nepal Tourism Board (NTB) Gandaki Province Office stated.
Meanwhile, a team of the Drabyalav Saving and Credit Cooperative Limited, Kathmandu visited Pokhara, Lamjung and Ghalegaun in the Province from February 19 to 21 to promote domestic tourism.
Ghalegaun is famous among the trekkers and visitors for its home-stay service, its typical Gurung culture and heritage, including the Gurung ethnological museum. Tourism activities have started to get momentum with the increasing number of visitors to these places in recent days.