Hotels face closure at Dharan

Himalayan News Service

Dharan, April 13:

Hoteliers in Dharan are facing a crisis due to a steep drop in business, despite this being the peak season for hotels.

Only three clients have come to the hotel last month, owner of the Hotel Ambassador, Shanker Man Shakya, lamented. Although a few tourists had arrived in Dharan last year, the numbers have steeply declined. Shakya, who is also the vice-president of Hotel Association of Dharan, said the hotel business in Dharan is beginning to touch the ‘zero’ mark. “We were hopeful that the situation will improve, but the situation is such that we might be displaced soon.”

Dharan is often known as the jewel in the eastern hilly districts. Hundreds of tourists used to visit Dharan for trekking till a few years back. The eastern hilly districts were destinations known for scenic rhododendrons and breathtaking Himalayan views.

According to Shakya, now not only the number of foreign tourists have fallen off but there is a steep decline in the number of domestic tourists as well. 90 per cent of hotels in Dharan are now facing closure due to disruption in transportation and insecurity, Shakya said.

The hotel business has been affected especially due to transportation disruption, concerned entrepreneurs claimed.

Transportation has been severely affected due to continuous bandhs for the last two and a half months. “Our business came to a standstill after disruption in transportation and entrepreneurs are witnessing bad days as a result,” said Pramesh Shrestha, treasurer of the association and owner of the Hotel Navayug.

There are around 100 hotels in Dharan and nearly 1,000 workers depend on them. “As hotels face closures, everybody’s future hangs in balance,” Shrestha said. It has become increasingly a challenge to survive in this business. It has become difficult to pay even the rent for the house, Shakya said. He added, “The government must pay attention if it wishes to save the hotel industry.”