POKHARA, Feb 27: With COVID-19 coronavirus cases rapidly rising in various countries, hotel bookings in Pokhara have plummeted markedly.
While almost 100 percent Chinese tourists have cancelled bookings, reservations from other countries such as Japan and Korea, among others, have also been falling significantly, according to hoteliers.
During this tourist season, which started from February, tourists from several parts of the world such as Japan, Korea and Europe would travel to Pokhara – a major tourist destination of Nepal. But many tourists have started to cancel bookings, according to hoteliers.
“Though booking cancellations by European tourists are still lower, we fear they will also cancel their travel plans if the coronavirus spread does not subside in Europe,” according to Naresh Bhattarai, operator of Mount Kailash Resort. He said booking cancellations by Korean tourists are almost total.
Almost all hotel bookings by Koreans for February have been cancelled and there are no bookings from them for March-April.
“During this time of year, Japanese tourist arrivals would be high. But currently there are no bookings from the Japanese,” Bhattarai said, adding that bookings by Indian tourists has also fallen sharply.
On an average, around 40,000 Korean tourists and 25,000 Japanese tourists visit Nepal every year, according to government figures.
According to Raj Kumar KC, general manager of Hotel Barahi at Lakeside, booking cancellations have been very high this season. Likewise, Krishna Acharya, manager of Temple Tree Resort, also reported significantly higher cancellations.
In Kathmandu’s Thamel, tourism entrepreneurs also reported drastic decline in visitor numbers.