Pokhara holds fest to welcome New YearThe 18th edition of the Pokhara street festival featuring food, music and cultural performances opened on Wednesday. The five-day event is organized by the Restaurant and Bar Association of Pokhara to welcome the New Year 2017.
The 18th edition of the Pokhara street festival featuring food, music and cultural performances opened on Wednesday. The five-day event is organized by the Restaurant and Bar Association of Pokhara to welcome the New Year 2017.
Hundreds of stalls offering a wide variety of food, beverages and other goods have been erected along a 3.5-km stretch of the road hugging the shoreline of Lake Phewa. Lakeside, as the area is known, has been decorated with lights.
Hotels and restaurants have announced discounts on food and accommodation. Special packages have been developed for tourists to encourage them to stay in Pokhara.
Visitors also get special discounts on adventure sports activities like paragliding, ultra light flights and zip flying. Almost all hotels and lodges in the tourist hotspot of Pokhara are filled with domestic and foreign holiday makers.
Normally, tourists start returning home from mid-December to celebrate Christmas and New Year in their own countries, so this period is known as off season for tourism.
The street festival aims to increase the length of stay of tourists during this lean period. The lake city not only welcomes a large number of foreign tourists during the event, but also an equal number of domestic vacationers from across the country.
The festival was inaugurated amid a colourful rally by Minister for Urban Development Arjun Narsingh KC. Like in the past, the festival theme this year is ‘Eat, dance and have fun on the street’.
“Festivals in Nepal are important to help strengthen cultural and social harmony and also to boost tourism,” said KC. He added that, along with the development of the proposed international airport in Pokhara, a comprehensive master plan has become necessary for the development of the tourist destination.
“The valley will now require a sophisticated conference hall, bus park and ring road,” he said, adding that the government was committed to making this development happen.
Gopi Bahadur Bhattarai, coordinator of the street festival, said that travel trade entrepreneurs in Pokhara were dedicated to the development of the city. “Instead of accusing each other, it’s time to join hands.”
Lawmakers Yagya Bahadur Thapa and Sharda Paudel, including the chairperson of the Pokhara Tourism Council Som Thapa, Kaski Chief District Officer Hari Prasad Mainali and Chairman of the Pokhara Valley Urban Development Committee Prakash Mohan Khanal spoke during the inaugural event.
Discounts of 15 percent on restaurant menu prices and 20 percent on lodge rooms have been offered during the festival period.