July 26, 2021 04:26 PM NPT
POKHARA, July 26: Large-scale hotels in Pokhara have started to resume the services that have been shut down since the outbreak of the second wave of COVID-19 in April. Hotel entrepreneurs say that they are forced to operate their hotels in order to keep them in business even if there are not enough guests.
The local administration has decided to lift the ban on hotels by making them operate at 50 pc of their capacity. Small and medium-scale hotels are not allowed to operate for now.
However, there are not enough guests even for large-scale hotels at the moment. Hotel entrepreneurs say the risk of COVID-19 infection to be the reason behind the low turnout of guests.
According to hotel entrepreneurs, failure of the government to vaccinate people belonging to the tourism sector had seriously affected the sector. People do not visit hotels until they feel secure.
Various hotels including the Hotel Barahi, Temple Tree Resort and Pokhara Grande and Atithi Resort have resumed their operations from Sunday. According to Kamal Sherchan, Senior Sales Manager at Pokhara Grande, the hotel has started to provide services following the decision of the local government. “Domestic tourists have started to call for inquiries. Some business companies have also contacted the hotel to host programs,” Sherchan said.
Sherchan said the indefinite closure of hotels would cause further damage to the infrastructure and equipment of the hotel. “We cannot remain closed forever. Although we expect the flow of international tourists to be low, we are expecting domestic tourists,” he added.
Similarly, guests have started to book rooms and have started to make inquiries at Hotel Barahi as well. “We have started to receive guests at our hotel,” General Manager of Hotel Barahi, Raj Kumar KC informed Republica. “Although the fear of getting infected is still present due to the second wave of COVID-19, we cannot remain shut due to the same fear. We can continue to provide our service by following the safety guideline while exercising caution,” KC said. “I hope we don't have to shut the business again.”
Owner of Temple Tree Resort Basant Gautam said that he has no alternative but to open the business after the decision of the local government. He expects to see the arrival of guests after the monsoon season but fears problems will rise as many people still remain unvaccinated. “We are asked by agencies if our employees are vaccinated. A mass vaccination campaign could ease the future for hotel entrepreneurs but it is not available,” he said.
Owner of Atithi Resort Bharat Sharma said he resumed services of the hotel a week ago. “There are people who are forced to travel and are in need of accommodations. We cannot remain shut for too long,” Sharma said. Along with other hotel operators, Sharma hopes to receive domestic tourists during the tourism season.