Tourism Surge: Pokhara’s Prominent Role as a Magnet for Travelers in 2081

Pokhara's Prominent Role as a Magnet for Travelers in 2081

POKHARA– In the wake of the New Year 2081, there has been a significant increase in tourist arrivals in the scenic capital city of Pokhara. With the advent of Chaitra (the second main tourist month of Vaisakh), both domestic and international tourism activities have surged in Pokhara. According to Laxman Suvedi, the president of the Hotel Association Pokhara, around 50 percent of hotels have reached their capacity.

“On Fridays and Saturdays, hotel occupancy can reach up to 60 percent,” he said, “We expect it to exceed 90 percent during the New Year.”

Previously, during the off-season for tourism in Poush (December-January), hotel occupancy was limited to less than ten percent. However, with the focus on the New Year, the “19th Feva New Year Festival” organized lakeside is anticipated to further boost tourist influx, according to Suvedi.

During the festival, arrangements have been made for a 30 percent discount on hotels. Suvedi mentioned that hotels in Pokhara now can accommodate around 40,000 daily tourists. “Currently, there are around 20,000 domestic and international tourists daily in Pokhara,” he said. “To accommodate the expected 40,000 daily tourists, more than 1,200 additional hotels need to be filled.”

During this season, notably, a significant number of Indian tourists are visiting Pokhara. President Suvedi noted that besides trekking to various destinations, tourists from third countries also spend some time in Pokhara.

Pom Narayan Suvedi, the chairman of the Pokhara Tourism Council, stated that currently there are between 150 to 200 Indian private vehicles within Pokhara daily.

“Air and public transportation are also being used extensively for travel to and around Pokhara and nearby destinations,” he said. “Indian tourists are attracted to visit Pokhara and its surrounding destinations for sightseeing and to escape the summer heat.”

Approximately 40 percent of Indian tourists visiting Pokhara specifically travel to Muktinath for pilgrimage, according to Chairman Shrestha. He also mentioned that there is no reliable data on the exact number of foreign tourists within Pokhara. Chairman Shrestha expressed his belief that with organized publicity and promotion, Pokhara could attract an annual 2 million Indian tourists.

Dr. Robin Kadariya, the head of the Annapurna Conservation Area Project (ACAP), mentioned that about 40 percent of foreign tourists visiting Pokhara are involved in trekking in the Annapurna region. He stated that in March of the previous English year, 30,099 foreign tourists visited the Annapurna region.

Among them, 14,068 were from South Asian countries and 15,531 were from other countries. Dr. Kadariya highlighted that about 90 percent of South Asian tourists visiting the Annapurna region are Indian.

As the second main tourist season begins, Dr. Kadariya expressed expectations of increased tourist activities in the region.

“The number of tourists visiting the region will continue to rise until the end of Vaisakh,” he said. “The months of Ashad-Kartik and Chait-Vaisakh are considered optimal for tourism, attracting not only international but also domestic tourists.”

He further noted that the Annapurna Circuit Trail attracts tourists from around the world. According to ACAP, in 2023, 191,558 tourists from 173 countries visited the Annapurna region. This number has been steadily increasing over the years, surpassing the record of 181,000 tourists in 2019.

Major destinations along the Annapurna Circuit include Annapurna Base Camp, Mardi Himal, Ghorepani, Tilicho Lake in Manang, Thorong La Pass, Lower Mustang, and Muktinath area.

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