POKHARA, Jan 30: The number of trekkers in the Annapurna Region increased by a whopping 45 percent in 2016 compared to figures of 2015.
Though trekkers numbers were affected in 2015 by the earthquakes and blockade, tourism entrepreneurs have termed the increment a massive recovery.
According to Annapurna Conservation Area Project (ACAP), number of trekkers in the Annapurna Region increased to 114,187 in 2016 compared to 78,930 in 2016.
Rashmi Acharya, tourism officer of ACAP, termed the increased footfalls very positive. “If everything goes right, the number of tourists coming to Nepal will be the same as before. Nepal should promote tourism in the international market to bring more tourists,” she added.
However, number of trekkers is still below compared to figures of 2014. According to ACAP, 129,624 trekkers had travelled to the Annapurna Region in 2014. The number was 106,499 in 2012 and 116,120 in 2013.
“The figures of 2016 are almost the same as 2013. The recovery has been faster than expected,” said Acharya. She further added that the increased footfalls show that the country has been recovering from the damages it had faced because of the massive earthquakes and the Indian blockade of 2015.
Annapurna region is the most popular trekking area in the country in terms of trekker’s numbers. There are many trekking trails in the region popular for mountain views.
Surya Thapaliya, senior officer at Nepal Tourism Board (NTB) Pokhara Office, said that the rise in number of trekkers proves that the country’s tourism industry is expanding at a faster pace. “Tourist arrival in 2016 has increased by nearly 40 percent compared to 2015,” he added. “This shows that the tourism sector is slowly returning to normalcy,” he said, adding that arrival figure was increasing by only 10 percent before the 2015 earthquakes.
Tourism entrepreneurs also say that the growth in the number of trekkers is higher than their expectations. Som Bahadur Thapa, president of Pokhara Tourism Committee (PTC), says the tourism industry has recovered in a short period which is very positive.