Tourist arrivals at Annapurna circuit picking up

The number of tourists visiting Annapurna circuit has been increasing over the past one week.

According to tourism entrepreneurs, the number of tourists visiting the region had dwindled after the recent avalanche and blizzard.

They have attributed the increased tourist arrivals to improved weather conditions. "After the snowstorm and avalanche that hit the region, tourist arrivals had gone down. But with weather conditions improving now, the number has been gradually increasing over the past one week," said Binod Gurung, a tourism entrepreneur based in Manang.

After the snowstorm and avalanche in mid-October, tourists had stopped visiting the region.

According to Gurung, there are 250 beds in 12 hotels of Manang and currently 80 percent of the beds are occupied by foreigners. However he said that fears of snowstorm and avalanche have not completely subsided.

This year, tourist arrivals had been hit during the peak season due to the disaster.

"However, we are happy now that the number of tourists visiting the region has started picking up," said Gurung. Gurung said hoteliers these days provide weather updates to the tourist before they start their trek.

According to Sudip Adhikari, chief of Annapurna Area Conservation Project (ACAP), Manang, they are providing tourists weather updates of a week before sending them for a trek.

"We find out weather updates from various websites and provide it to tourists visiting the Annapurna circuit and Tilicho region," said Adhikari.

According to the check post at Dharapani, Manang, 4,515 tourists visited Annapurna circuit in October which is 1,227 less compared to October last year.  A total of 5,742 tourists visited the region in October 2013.

"The number of tourists visiting the region is the lowest in last five years," said Chettra Gurung assistant staff at Dharapani check post. In 2011 and 2012, around 5,811 tourists visited the region in average.

"We had requested the tourists not to visit Annapurna circuit for two weeks after the blizzard due to safety regions but now that the weather has improved we are allowing tourists to visit the region," said Ram Chandra Sharma, president of the western regional chapter of Trekking Agencies Association of Nepal (TAAN).

Sharma said TAAN has warned tourists against traveling alone.


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