Happy New Year: Pokhara abuzz with thousands of tourists

POKHARA: As the New Year 2017 is only a few days away, Pokhara, one of the popular tourist hotspots in the country, is bustling with tourists, both domestic and foreigners alike.

According to the Western Regional Hotel Association (WRHA), as many as 400 hotels, guest houses and restaurants registered with the Association and those 50 in the process of registrations are already booked for three days from December 30 to January 1 a week ago.

Interestingly, the majority of the booking is made by the domestic tourists.

"Most tourists visiting Pokhara are the domestic ones accounting for 70 per cent of the total arrivals," shared Pokhara Tourism Council Chair Som Thapa.

The hoteliers, with the ongoing 18th Street Festival on the bank of Phewa Lake and New Year celebration to be held from tomorrow, are upbeat and expecting to witness the footfall of around 500,000 tourists during the course of the festival.

Organised by the Restaurant and Bar Association Nepal (REBAN), the five-day Street Festival kicked off on December 28 featuring a bunch of activities including food, music and cultural performances, sports events and screening of documentaries and photo exhibition to promote Pokhara's internal and external tourism, said Festival Coordinator Gopi Bahadur Bhattarai.

"Earlier, the City remained the top choice among the foreign tourists for the celebration of the English New Year; but with the growing travel trend among the Nepalis, various festivals organised at the Lake Side in view of the English New Year and apt weather for travel have drawn huge number of domestic tourists as well," WRHA President Bharatraj Pahari said.

He added that besides the enchanting landscapes against the backdrop of the Machhapuchhre, Dhaulagiri and Annapurna mountain ranges, Pokhara's adventurous tourism such as paragliding, ultralight flights and bungee jumps among others had attracted domestic tourists.

The hotels here have around 9,000 rooms with a capacity of 20,000 beds.