As tourism boom hits Rara, foreign visitor numbers disappointingly low
August 27, 2017 09:14 AM NPT
By: Suman Malla
MUGU, August 27: Tourist footfall in Rara Laka - the biggest lake in the country - has remained more or less at the same level over the past five years.
Several initiatives by the government as well as the private sector to bring more foreign tourists to this beautiful place haven’t yet borne fruits. The number of tourists to this premium tourist destination has remained more or less at the same level since 2005/06.
According to statistics compiled by Rara National Park (RNP), a total of 207 foreign visited Rara Lake in Fiscal Year 2010/11 -- the highest footfall so far.
Similarly, the lowest footfall, only 4, was recorded in FY2006/07. The number fell to 157 in FY2015/2016 mainly due to the 2015 earthquakes. But it grew to 201 in FY2016/17, according to Chandra Shekhar Chaudhary, the chief conservation officer of Rara National Park.
However, the flow of domestic tourists is increasing at an encouraging rate in the past few years. Rara Lake welcomed around 60,000 domestic tourists in FY2016/17, compared to around 20,000 in FY2015/16, according to Chaudhary. “The area lacks proper hotels to accommodate growing number of tourists,” Chaudhary said, adding: “Had there been good hotels, the number of tourists, both foreign and domestic, would have increased further.”
The RNP mobilized total revenue of Rs 1.6 million from tourist entry fees, sale of non-timber products, and others fees in the past two fiscal years. It collected revenue worth Rs 1.5 million in FY2016/17 alone.