Annapurna trekking marred by quake, blockade

MUSTANG: Tourism business around the Annapurna trekking route, one of the best trekking destinations in the world, has suffered badly due to Gorkha Earthquake and India’s unofficial blockade last year.

The trekking route that used to lure a large number of tourists every year has witnessed a sharp downfall in tourists’ arrival in 2015.

The Annapurna Conservation Area Project (ACAP) said that only 80,000 tourists arrived in the trekking route in 2015, which is 50,000 less compared to 2014. The arresting beauty of the trekking route that stretches into Kaski, Myagdi, Mustang, Manang and Lamjung districts attracts the tourists from across the globe.

A total of 6,00 hotels of small and big scale are in operation in the trekking route that incorporates 57 VDCs in the five districts.

The hoteliers said that the industries run in small investment were on the verge of closure for lack of tourists.

ACAP Chief Lal Prasad Gurung said that the trekking route suffered the severe loss due to the natural disaster and the political instability in the country.

He said, “Decline of 50,000 tourists in a year is not a minor issue. This has caused a loss of nearly Rs 1.5 billion.

The tourists visiting the trekking route stay at least seven days and spend nearly Rs 3,000 a day, the ACAP said.