Kathmandu: Tourists’ mobility has visibly upped in Thamel – the main tourism hub – with the advent of autumn season. Tourism entrepreneurs are being elated with the rise in arrival of tourists. The entrepreneurs have come across financial trouble with a sharp fall in the inflow of tourists in the wake of devastating Gorkha earthquake, trade embargo and coronavirus pandemic. A new hope is simmering among the entrepreneurs with the gradual rise in the arrivals of tourists at the onset of tourism season.
Influx of foreign tourists has increased in Thamel of late, said Thamel-based restaurant operator Bhagawan Thapa, who has been offering Thakali cuisine varieties. “In earlier months, hardly 10-15 domestic and foreign guests used to visit my restaurant daily for eateries. But the number has increased to 45-50 this month and most of them are foreigners”, he shared. Kiran Dev Ghimire, who has been operating stationery shop in Thamel for the past one-and-a-half decade, said inflow of foreign tourists has increased in Thamel lately.
However, tourists have been facing trouble in lack of proper maintenance of dilapidated roads in Thamel which has established its international fame, he mentioned. Fancy cloth operator Sitaram Regmi commented that business volume has not increased in Thamel despite rise in tourism activities. “Fancy business transactions have dropped in Thamel this year compared to the last year”. Hotel business has a different story in Thamel. The occupancies in Thamel-based hotels have increased with rising flow of tourists. Mahesh Phuyal, operator of Thamel-based four-star hotel Ramada Encore, said hotel rooms have been booked for the autumn season since a month before.
Sahadev Dhamala, proprietor of a hotel in Thamel, however said tourism business in Thamel has not been as anticipated due to short-term stay of tourists of late. Dhamala, also the vice-chairperson of Thamel Tourism Development Council, said the Council has been holding discussions with different agencies on the measures to prolong stay of foreign tourists in Thamel. According to Nepal Tourism Board, a toal of 692,372 tourists have entered Nepal via air routes in first nine months of the year 2023. Among them, 91,012 tourists arrived Nepal in the month of September alone. —