Shutdowns hit tourism industry hard

Published On: March 12, 2017 09:50 PM NPT By: Santosh Pokharel

POKHARA, March 12: Shutdown enforced by different political parties on Friday and Saturday has affected many tourists as many of them were unable to move to their respective destinations from Pokhara.

Tourists from the United Kingdom and China had booked seven rooms at Hotel Barahi in Lakeside, Pokhara from Friday. But they could not come to Pokhara from Kathmandu because of the shutdown. The shutdown forced them to cancel their Pokhara trip. They are now returning to their respective countries.

Likewise, 20 domestic and foreign tourists had booked rooms at the hotel till Friday. But they shortened trip and returned to Kathmandu on Thursday itself.

According to tourism entrepreneurs, the shutdown has hit tourism industry of the lake city hard. The said that incidents like banda and strike could dent country's tourism image in the international market.

“We were unable to bring tourists to our hotel. Those, who were in Pokhara, were also forced to shorten their trip. This is certain to create negative impact in our tourism industry,” Raj Kumar KC, the general manager of Hotel Barahi, said. “Tourists faced deep trouble because of the shutdown. Many of them shorten their trips, while we were forced to keep our room empty which is a big loss for hotels,” KC said. “Had tourists known about the shutdown beforehand, they would have planned their trip accordingly.”

Another entrepreneur, Dharma Raj Panthi, also said that sudden shutdown programs like this affect tourism industry in the long run. “Many tourists had to alter their travel plan because of the banda. Nobody wants to take risk,” he added.

Bharat Raj Parajuli, a former president of Paschimanchal Hotel Association Pokhara, said they knew about Satuday's banda on Friday night only. “The shutdown affected many domestic visitors who were planning to travel to Pokhara on the weekend,” he added. “Our room occupancy was already low. Incidents like these will affect our business further.”

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