Entrepreneurs demand three-day permits to tourists visiting CNPTourism entrepreneurs of Sauraha have demanded the Ministry of Forest and Soil Conservation put in place a provision, under which tourists can visit Chitwan National Park for three days with a single ticket.
Tourism entrepreneurs of Sauraha have demanded the Ministry of Forest and Soil Conservation put in place a provision, under which tourists can visit Chitwan National Park for three days with a single ticket.
The entrepreneurs told Minister Shanker Bhandari, who visited the district on Tuesday, such a provision would help boost length of stay of tourists.
Pledging to address their demand, Bhandari has asked local tourism businesses to prepare a proposal and forward it to the ministry within 15 days. “I request you to devise an action plan after holding talks with stakeholders concerned,” said Bhandari. “I will fulfil your demand.”
Foreigners have to purchase a ticket worth Rs1,695 to visit the national park for a day and pay an additional Rs2,000 for guide.
“If the tourists are allowed to visit the park for three days with a single ticket, chances are high they will stay for a longer period,” said Keshav Khanal who runs a hotel at Sauraha. “This will also contribute to employment generation.”
Sauraha tourism has been struggling to get back on its feet after being knocked out by last year’s earthquake and subsequent Indian trade embargo.
Travel trade entrepreneurs are worried about the slow pace of recovery as they expect it to take at least another two years for tourism to return to its old vibrant self. About 30 percent of the tourists visiting Nepal go on jungle safari in Chitwan National Park.
According to the entrepreneurs, the business has plunged 50 percent as foreign visitors have been avoiding Sauraha which is known for its rich wildlife including the Royal Bengal tiger and one-horned rhino.
The highly popular jungle safari destination in the southern plains was not greatly affected by the tremor which devastated parts of Nepal, but potential visitors also stayed away following exaggerated reports of widespread destruction across the country, travel traders said.
The battered industry received another blow when India imposed a trade embargo in September last year, the peak tourist season in Nepal. Poor state of Narayanghat-Mugling road section worsened the situation further.
Out of the 100 hotels in Chitwan, 30 hotels offer good amenities. As many of these hotels have taken loans from banks, they are greatly worried about being able to make timely repayments due to the slowdown in business.