Wrong Timing: Winter tour packages in Rara Lake flop for lack of snowThere were no takers for winter tourism packages launched by tourism entrepreneurs in Mugu in western Nepal due to lack of snow.
There were no takers for winter tourism packages launched by tourism entrepreneurs in Mugu in western Nepal due to lack of snow. Travel traders had hoped to attract a horde of tourists to Rara Lake, the biggest lake in the country which lies in the district, with their offers; but the expected visitors did not show up because there was no snow, a key draw for domestic and international thrill seekers.
Two travel agents, Visit Karnali Tour and Travels and Rara Adventures, had launched winter packages targeting the December-February period in a bid to make tourism a year-round business, but potential visitors were not lured by the region’s natural beauty and picturesque lake.
They had offered a 10-day package for foreign visitors including food, accommodation and two-way airfare for $500. For Nepali visitors, there was a four-day package priced at Rs38,000. The package with surface transport option was priced at Rs23,000.
“We made an attempt to attract tourists by launching winter tour packages, but we did not succeed,” said Devi Krishna Rokaya, managing director of Rara Adventures. “It may be due to the general feeling that winter is not a good time to visit Rara because of the extreme cold.” Tour operators had planned to take visitors to other sight-seeing areas like Murma Top (3,630 metres) as part of the package. It takes one and a half hours to walk to Murma Top from Murma village. The vantage point provides a 360-degree view of Rara Lake.
Other items on the itinerary are visits to old palaces and temples like Kanak Sundari in Jumla, Pandu Gupha in Dailekh and many other historic and archeological sites in the western region. Rara Lake, the greatest attraction for domestic and international tourists, has remained deserted for the last two months because of the winter cold. There are a few hotels operating in the lake area. Danfe Guest House, Heritage Village Resort and a dozen other hotels surrounding the lake are all empty.
“As Rara did not witness snowfall this winter, it did not attract visitors,” said Deepak Rawat, manager of the Village Heritage Resort. “In the past, Rara used to host 50-60 visitors daily during this time,” he said.
Hotel and lodges earned Rs50,000 to Rs60,000 daily during the winter season last year. However, this year, they are hardly making Rs5,000 per day, according to hoteliers. This winter, the Karnali Highway or the airport in Mugu were not affected by snow. However, entrepreneurs are optimistic that the tourist season will begin soon. The best times to visit Rara Lake are September-October and April-May. Tourists avoid Rara in the winter.