Chinese throng Pokhara for Lunar New Year

Pokhara has emerged as one of the preferred destinations for visitors from the northern neighbour to celebrate the Chinese New Year.

Travel trade entrepreneurs said that hotels and lodges in the lakeside city were packed due to the increased Chinese arrivals since the beginning of January.

The visitors thronged Pokhara to celebrate the Lunar New Year which fell on Jan 31. The Lunar New Year is the longest and most important holiday in the Chinese calendar.

According to tourism entrepreneurs, Pokhara has been attracting repeat Chinese visitors. Toni is one example. According to him, he visited Pokhara in 2012 and came back here with a group of 16 people in 2014.

“I have never been to any country twice,” Toni said. “The natural beauty and hospitality of Pokhara has allured me twice.”

Almost all the hotels in Pokhara are fully occupied due to the increased inflow of Chinese vacationers.

“Around 100 Chinese visitors have been staying at my hotel since the past one week,” said Bharat Sharma, proprietor of Aatithi Resort and Spa, a three-star property. “We have healthy advance bookings from Chinese visitors for the upcoming month,” Sharma said.

According to him, many new resorts have been coming into operation since the past one year, and they have been doing good business mainly due to the increased arrivals from China.

The Chinese people celebrate the Lunar New Year by holding parties, travelling and participating in recreational activities. For adventure lovers, opportunities like paragliding, ultra light and zip flying are available.

“More than 80 percent of the hotels in Pokhara have been occupied by Chinese tourists since the beginning of the month,” said Sundar Kumar Shrestha, former president of the Pokhara Tourism Council.

Rajesh Bamjan, president of the Nepal Air Sports Association, said that paragliding companies were witnessing hordes of Chinese tourists. “Around 95 percent of them enjoy the experience of flying up in the sky.”

With arrivals from the European market in decline, the swelling number of visitors from China have compensated for the drop.

Hoteliers said that Chinese tourists normally visit Pokhara in a group, and they spend well. According to the Tourism Ministry, Chinese visitors spent an average of 10.14 days in Nepal in 2011. Their average length of stay was 15.38 days in 2010.

source: ekantipur, 04 Feb 2014

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