Illam, Dec 27: Data collection of tourist arrival in Ilam has begun after a hiatus of 10 months. The Tourist Information Centre registers the arrival of tourists at Jorkalash in the border of Jhapa and Ilam district.
The data collection had stopped following the nationwide lockdown imposed in mid-March to stem the spread of Coronavirus. The data collection has now resumed from mid-December.
However, the tourists' arrival is not encouraging, says information officer Gagan Ghimire. For tourists coming to Ilam, Sri Antu, Kanyan, Sandakpur and Mai Pokhari are the major attractions.
Sri Antu, believed to be the best destination of Nepal for sunrise and sunset, draws the largest number of tourists to the district.
Hotels and restaurants opened after the government lifted the lockdown. However, the tourists' arrival is not like the previous years, said tourism entrepreneur in Sri Antu, Rudra Ghimire. The number of tourists coming to Sri Antu has increased after the Dashain festival.
Lately, new destinations like Paanitar, Didi Bahini Jharana, Jhandi Danda are also drawing tourists in Ilam .According to the information centre, Ilam received 120,000 tourists last year.
The government should come up with a substantial package to revive the tourism sector. Otherwise, it will be very hard for the sector to stand tall, as many hotels and home-stay have already shut down, says Devi Paudyal, a member of the Ilam Tourism Promotion Development Committee. The local level governments also can play an important role in this regard.