Local businesspersons of Manang and Mustang have called the concerned authorities to resume trekking activities in the area along the Annapurna circuit at the earliest.
Following the fatal blizzards that claimed at least 33 persons, the Annapurna Conservation Area Project (ACAP) and Trekking Agencies’ Association of Nepal (TAAN) has restricted trekkers from passing through the Thorang Phedi – High Camp – Thorang Pass section of the Annapurna circuit in upper Manang area since Friday.
Local entrepreneurs have also criticised media for exaggerating the loss as if it was a regular happening.
A hotel operator Binod Gurung said the media promoted negative image of the region, adversely affecting tourism activities in Nepal.
He also claimed that dozens of tourists had safely crossed the Thorang Pass just a couple of days before the blizzards.
The entrepreneur also informed that a joint team comprising representatives from the ACAP and the Lodge Management Committee, Manang are deployed at the Thorang Pass area to look into condition of the trekking route.
Likewise, another hotel operator at Thorang High Camp, Pemba Gurung also shared that trekkers died because of not only blizzard, but also due to cold gust which followed the snowfall.
Claiming that the weather significantly improved by now, he requested the authorities to lift the imposed restriction.
Else the incident can give a negative message to the tourist community, he warned.
Another hotel operator of the area, Anil Bhattachan said he experienced such a fatal incident for the first time during his 15 years of business in the area. He also refuted the claims that local businesspersons did not provide needful support to the blizzard victims.
Meanwhile, TAAN Western Regional Committee’s member Krishna Acharya said the ban will be lifted within a couple of days. He also claimed that the restriction decision was made considering security of the trekkers’ belongings scattered in the area currently.