KATHMANDU, Aug 4: Ratnanagar Municipality has decided to set new criteria for hotels, restaurants, and local houses to promote eco-tourism in Sauraha. According to the criterion, buildings more than two-storey cannot be built in the tourist destination.
Along with this, the municipality and the regional hotel entrepreneurs have also decided to use a natural color on all the buildings. “We have been planning to use mud color for every building,” said Narayan Ban, mayor of Ratnanagar Municipality.
He said that though the policy has not been formulated until now, work starts before the Dashain festivals.
“We will bring policy on the uniformity of structures after having a round of discussion with the locals,” he said.
The specialty of Sauraha is the forest, but lately, the place is in the process of getting crowded with concrete structures, said Suman Ghimire, president of Regional Hotel Association of Nepal, Sauraha.
“There are many tourists who have repeatedly come to Sauraha since its establishment in 1973. Many of them say that Sauraha does not give natural vibes these days as before,” said Ghimire. He said that the entrepreneurs had been discussing creating an eco-friendly environment for tourists for many years. “So, we have now decided to create a fusion of concrete, natural and some Nepali cultured infrastructure to give organic ambiance for the tourists,” he said.
Mayor Ban said that the criteria will be implemented in the whole Sauraha village. According to him, 5-6 tall buildings, which already exist in the area, will not be affected by the decision. “We will work on adding cultural essence to the existing buildings in a way to attract tourists,” Ban said.
Ghimire said that to implement the policy effectively, no hotels should be allowed to be constructed in less than 3 kathha land. “In presence of ample space, structures should not be constructed like in the city areas,” said Ghimire.
Though most tourists come to Nepal to see its mountains, after visiting places like Sauraha, they understand the diversity of the country. “Safari based tourism has also been developed to some extent, but not as much as it can be promoted,” added Ghimire. “Sauraha has the capacity to accommodate around 6,000 tourists every day. However, a maximum of only 3,000 tourists come here in the peak season.”
Ghimire said that Sauraha observes 60 percent of internal tourists and 40 percent international tourists.
The municipality in collaboration with local people is planning to better organize the home-stay business of the village.”The locals have been operating a few home-stays, and we will work on adding value to the business now. We will focus on promoting the Tharu culture and their local cuisine for Visit Nepal Year 2020,” Ban said.
He added that the municipality is also constructing a view tower with a target to complete within this year. Apart from this, the municipality is also planning to construct a tourist bus park and tourist information center for VNY 2020, according to Ban.