Bhaktapur Municipality has lost over Rs209 million in tourism revenue since last year’s earthquake and a prolonged border blockade.
The municipality has collected only Rs91 million under the tourism heading as against Rs300 million in the corresponding period in 2014.
According to the municipality’s Tourist Information Centre, a total of 77,380 tourists have visited Bhaktapur since the devastating quake struck on April 25. Out of that, 53,314 were from Saarc and neighbouring China.
The city, famous for medieval art and architecture dating back to late Malla period, had 301,012 visitors, including 145,075 from Saarc and China, in 2014.
Tourism constitutes more than 90 percent of municipality’s revenue. The considerable drop in tourist arrivals have hit the development works in the historic city, according to municipal officials.
“The municipality has to carry on a lot of reconstruction works, including debris management. The loss in revenue has had an adverse effect on such activities,” said Damador Suwal, Tourist Information officer at Bhaktapur Municipality. The municipality has distributed aid worth Rs92 million to 232 quake-affected families.
The entry to the city was free for over a month after the devastating earthquake. But when it was re-opened for tourists on June 12, 2015, only 20 tourists visited the city.
Fewer visitors have affected livelihood of hundreds of people dependent on the tourism industry, such as Thanka business, local handicraft sellers, curio sellers and hoteliers.
Source: The Kathmandu Post