Tourism entrepreneurs of Pokhara have taken unique initiatives to attract tourists in the lake city at a time when the industry has been facing a severe slowdown due to the April 25 earthquake.
One of the initiatives is involving the visitors in paddy transplantation. The “Paddy Plantation Event” saw participation of more than 200 foreigners on Friday. “Activities as such help the tourism rebound,” said Som Bhahadur Thapa, president of Pokhara Tourism Council.
Following the quake, the entrepreneurs have launched several activities to convey a message to prospective visitors that Pokahara is a safe destination. Tourism infrastructure in Pokhara is largely unaffected, but the number of visitors has gone down significantly after the quake. The 14 badly-hit districts do not include Kaski and Tanahu. However, significant losses in Kathmandu sent a negative message about the safety of Nepal among tourists.
Despite the low tourist arrivals, activities like ultra-light flights, paragliding, bungee jump and zip flyer, among others, are operating as usual. Tourists arriving in the lake city have been enjoying almost all the activities.
“As activities in Pokhara are being carried out as usual, frequency of conferences, seminars and meetings, among other, have increased,” said Govinda Raj Pahari, member of National Tourism Promotion Committee. “We need to increase promotion and marketing in other countries.”
According to Pahari, hotels, tourist attractions and hiking routes, among others, are completely safe.
“The business had gone down to almost zero, but slow and steady revival has given some optimism to us,” said Bharat Raj Parajuli, president of Western Development Region Hotel Association, adding they met officials of Indian and Chinese embassies in Nepal for reviving the industry. “We are anticipating growth in the flow of tourists from September.”