This recent photo shows tourists in Sandakpur. (Bhim Chapagain/Republica)
ILAM, Oct 26: With overwhelming turnover of visitors in this main tourist season, hotel entrepreneurs in tourist-hub Ilam district are having difficulties accommodating unprecedented influx of guests.
Tourists are having hard time finding hotels and home stay in the main tourist areas of the district, including Sandakpur, Pashupatinagar, Kanyam, Antu, Mai Pokhari, Jaubari, and Pathibhara.
The highest altitude hill of the district that lies in Sandakpur (3,636 meters) has been receiving around 300 tourists in a day. Local hoteliers are, therefore, not struggling to accommodate such a massive inflow of tourists.
Nima Bhuti Sherpa, operator of Sherpa Chalet Hotel in Sandakpur, said although they have capacity to accommodate just 50 guests, they have been receiving requests from over 200 guests a day.
“October and November is the main tourist season here. And during the season, our business booms and sadly, we even have to turn down the guests if they don't make bookings two to three days in advance,” she said. “Rest of the year, however, we do not get this kind of overwhelming number of visitors.”
There are some hotels about two kilometers away from Sandakpur. About 20 to 25 tourists can accommodate in these hotels. However, guests also have to make pre-booking rooms here also during tourist season.
According to Pinkey Sherpa, a local, hotels in three kilometer radius of Sandakpur, including places such as Bikhe Bhanjyang, Dobato and Kalpokhari, are also fully occupied with tourists during the season. Hotels in these areas can accommodate about 40 tourists.
“Dozens of groups of domestic and Indian tourists are booking hotels here,” said Pemba Sherpa, operator of Himchuli Lodge at Kalpokhari. “Just like in other places, tourists hardly get place to eat and sleep unless they book the hotels 2-3 days in advance. This is because we have to make necessary arrangements for them in advance.”
Domestic tourists visiting Sandakpur say they are forced to stay in expensive hotels of bordering Indian towns as hotels in Sandakpur are already full.
“We thought hotels are easily available and came without giving it too much thought. However, we found the situation to be completely different and subsequently were forced to stay in expensive hotels across the Indian border,” said Dolendra Bhardwaj, a domestic tourist in Sandakpur.