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Tourism entrepreneurs fan out to Pokhara’s suburbs

Prompted by swelling arrivals, investors are increasingly fanning out to Pokhara’s suburbs to escape downtown congestion. Travel traders said that a large number of hotels and restaurants were being constructed in the rural periphery where the population density is lower.

Basant Dawadi, a tourism entrepreneur, is building a 15-room hotel at Ghachok village. The hotel is being constructed at a cost of Rs 20 million. The property consists of six buildings and all of them are designed in traditional cottage style.

Similarly, a local youth Sudip Gautam has been operating Trekkers Home in Sidhing on the trekking route to Mardi Himal. He has invested Rs 15 million in the hotel which has 14 rooms and 42 beds. “I have invested in the hotel due to increasing demand,” said Gautam. “We have aimed to cater to trekkers.”

Travel trade entrepreneurs said that along with foreigners, domestic visitors who want to stay far away from densely populated and polluted urban areas were the major customers patronising hotels on the city’s outskirts.

“Hotels are attracting visitors by offering accommodation in traditional style huts,” said Dawadi, who is also the vice-president of the Pokhara Tourism Council. Besides, visitors are offered organic food in a clean and tranquil environment. “The increasing number of hotels in rural areas are also helping to promote rural tourism.” “Now there is no shortage of rooms even in villages,” said Gautam.

However, these hotels have replaced accommodation in tents which used to be famous on the different trekking routes from long ago.

The Sardi Khola Agro River View Cottage and Restro is another resort recently established in Syauli Bazaar of Dangsing, a gateway to Ghorepani which is one of the popular trekking destinations. Operated by Parvat Himshrinkhala Agricultural Tourism , the hotel has aimed to lure tourists by promoting local agro products.

Man Bahadur Khadka, the proprietor of the hotel, said that they planned to more than double the investment to Rs 15 million from the present Rs 7 million. Apart from the hotel business, many teahouses and guest houses are also being opened in rural areas like Lwang Ghale village.

Hari Sharma, president of Hotel Association Nepal Western Regional Chapter, said that the increased number of hotels was a positive sign to promote rural tourism.

“Now tourism is not concentrated in Pokhara only,” Sharma said, adding that diversifying tourism in different areas would help to boost the length of stay.

source: ekantipur, 02 April 2014

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