Paul Patrick of Iran was worried about himself before he headed to Nepal for a trek to Jomsom. But the situation here was different from what he had seen in international media.
“I didn’t face any problem during my trek from Lamjung to Jomsom via Manang,” Patrick, who arrived in Jomsom on Tuesday, said, urging tourists to come to visit Nepal without any hesitation.
Gopal Krishna from India, who is on a pilgrimage to Muktinath Temple, also said Nepal is safe to visit although some infrastructures have been damaged. “Rumors doing round in media that Nepal is not safe to visit is not true. Everyone can come here and enjoy without anything to worry about,” he added.
US trekker Michelle James said was happy to complete Annapurna Circuit even after the devastating earthquake. “We cannot say Nepal is unsafe. I did not feel any insecurity here,” she said, adding, “I am very glad that I chose this country for my vacation.”
Like Patrick, Gopal and James, every tourist visiting Mustang say Nepal is as beautiful as before and there is no reason to feel insecure.
At a time when number of tourist visiting Nepal has fallen drastically mainly due to negative media reports about Nepal, positive message from tourists can help a lot in revival of tourism industry, according to tourism entrepreneurs of Mustang.
There were 89 tourists in Mustang on April 21. But there were only three foreign tourists in Muktinath on June 23.
“We were getting good number of foreign tourists until April 25. Now we are seeing only handful of them,” Tek Bahadur Gurung, chief of Annapurna Conservation Area Project (ACAP) check post in Muktinath, said.
Gurung also said tourists visiting the area have been giving positive reactions. “We have been taking comments from them. Almost all of them have said they enjoyed the trek and that they did not face any problem,” said Gurung.
More than 90 percent of foreign tourists visiting Mustang come via Manang. India, The region has been attracting tourists from countries like USA, Iran, Japan, Sri Lanka, Germany, France, South Korea, Australia, Thailand, Italy, the United Kingdom, Malaysia and Chile, among others.
Number of Indian tourists coming for Muktinath pilgrimage has also fallen after the earthquake. “Around 40 Indian tourists used to come to Muktinath on a daily basis before the earthquake. Now we are getting only two or three Indian tourists,” Ram Prasad Subedi, the priest of Muktinath Temple, said.
Meanwhile, local hoteliers have started a campaign to invite foreign tourists to the area. “We have written to embassies in Kathmandu to convey the message that the area is safe to visit,” Chandra Mohan Gauchan, a hotel entrepreneur, said, adding that they will organize various programs to attract tourists.