Surkhet expecting influx of visitorsNew hotels are sprouting in Birendranagar, Surkhet in anticipation of an influx of travellers with massive infrastructure projects getting underway in the Mid-Western Region.
New hotels are sprouting in Birendranagar, Surkhet in anticipation of an influx of travellers with massive infrastructure projects getting underway in the Mid-Western Region.
Surkhet is the gateway to the Karnali region, and direct air connection with Kathmandu has boosted its status as a travel hub. Till a few years ago, most programmes used to be organized in Nepalgunj, 121 km to the south, due to lack of proper hotels in Surkhet.
Investors were reluctant to pour money into the hospitality sector here because of slow business activities and poor air transport facilities.
But things have changed now. Traveler movement to Karnali from Surkhet has increased significantly due to direct air connectivity with Kathmandu. The improved prospects have encouraged investors to spend millions on new hotel projects.
Subha Hotel is constructing a three-star property near Chinapool with an investment of Rs270 million. Padam Bahadur Shahi, president of the Regional Chamber of Commerce and Industry, and local entrepreneurs Prakash Uprety and Tek Bahadur Bhandari have put up the necessary capital.
According to Shahi, they have already spent Rs230 million on the hotel. “The new property will have 60 deluxe rooms, restaurant and seminar hall,” he said.
Likewise, Siddhartha Business Group of Hospitality which acquired the Sunny Village Resort in Surkhet has decided to upgrade its facilities. The group bought the property for a reported Rs160 million.
“We are investing more than Rs300 million on the upgradation project,” said Krishna Bhandari, regional manager of the group. He added that the resort offers three-star-hotel amenities to its guests. The resort has 34 deluxe rooms, swimming pool and seminar hall.
According to entrepreneurs, a number of ongoing and proposed development projects have drawn investors towards the hospitality sector.
Ongoing projects like the Bheri-Babai Diversion Project and Mid-Hill Highway and the planned Upper Karnali Hydropower Project, Chaukune Cement and Mid-Western University are the major drivers behind the hotel boom in Surkhet.
Currently, Namaste Nepal, Valley View, Manasarovar, Ashoka and Satkaar hotels are in operation in Birendranagar.
However, entrepreneurs are worried about irregular air connections. “If there is a regular flight schedule to Surkhet, the hotel business here will thrive to greater heights,” said Shahi, adding that the unpredictability of flights often forces people to stay in Nepalgunj.
Meanwhile, Surkhet also lacks a well-stocked market, and daily necessities are hard to come by. This has made potential visitors wary of making a trip there. Krishna Neupane, CEO of the Siddhartha Group, said that unavailability of products like milk, fruit, vegetable, meat and fish was also a major problem in Surkhet.