September 25, 2019 08:05 AM NPT
By: Krishna Kisi
BHAKTAPUR, Sept 25: While the country is preparing to celebrate Visit Nepal Year 2020, flow of tourists to Nagarkot – a popular hill station in the Kathmandu Valley – has been affected due to sorry state of Bhaktapur-Nagarkot Road.
The upgradation work of 16-kilometer road from Bhatkeko Pati to Nagarkot was supposed to have been completed by Fiscal Year 2015/16. However, the road remains incomplete even today. Because of bad road, tourists are diverting to places like Dhulikhel, local tourism entrepreneurs say.
Dhan Bahadur Lama, vice chairperson of Nagarkot Naldum Tourism Development Committee, said fancy slogans alone won’t work. “We cannot bring tourists if we do not have proper road. But local government and the federal government are providing only lip service instead of working on prioritizing infrastructure development,” he added.
Local tourism entrepreneurs fear they will not be able to get desired benefits from the Visit Nepal Year campaign if road upgradation work is not completed at the earliest. “The yearlong tourism promotional campaign has failed to excite us because we know tourists are not coming if basic infrastructures like roads are not kept in order,” added Lama. “We have met several government officials and senior political leaders and requested them to do the needful for expediting road construction works. But it seems that our pleas have fallen on deaf ears.
According to the committee, about four dozen small and big hotels in Nagarkot would do combined business of around Rs 5 million per day during peak season. But daily turnover has fallen below half due to bad roads, said Lama.
Hotels in Nagarkot have capacity to accommodate nearly 800 tourists per day.
Changu Narayan, a UNESCO World Heritage site and another popular tourist destination of Bhaktapur, is also suffering from bad roads. The road to Changu Narayan is blacktopped but it is narrow and filled with potholes. Also, the area lacks proper accommodation for tourists.
Buddhi Narayan Maharjan, chairperson of Ward 4 of Changu Narayan Municipality, said post-quake reconstruction work on the temple premises has not been completed yet. “Though the main temple has been restored, other temples and structures are yet to be rebuilt. Why would tourists come when they cannot see anything?” added Maharjan.
Meanwhile, Bhaktapur Municipality is busy stone-paving streets in core area of Bhaktapur to further enhance tourism experience for guests visiting the ancient city.
Bhaktapur Durbar Square – a UNESCO World Heritage site – is the main attraction for tourists in Bhaktapur. Other attractions here are the five-storied Nyatapola Temple, Fifty-five Windows Palace and Dattatraya Temple, among others.
Other tourist attractions of Bhaktapur like Trishul Danda of Chhaling, Ghyampe Danda of Suryabinayak, Kakrabari of Nakhel, Neelbarahi of Madhyapur Thimi, and Mahadev Pokhari of Nagarkot also lack road access.