Tourists bypassing Beni trek route

Himalayan News Service

Beni, March 26:

The flow of tourists to Beni, the main portal for trekking round the Annapurna area to reach Pokhara, has completely stopped after the Maoists attacked the district headquaters.

Instead, the tourists are going towards the Annapurna region through alternate routes, said Tika Ram Sapkota, president of Trekking Agents Association of Nepal (TAAN) western region chapter.

"After the attack on Beni, tourists have not come to Beni from Tatopani, rather they are taking the Ghodepani-Ghandruk route through Nayaapul to reach Pokara," he said.

The pilgrims heading towards Jomsom and Muktinath are also found to be choosing an alternate route of Ghandruk-Ghodepani from Nayapul via Tatopani.

"Around 76 tourists, most of them Israelis, are going for trekking around the Annapurna region," said Basudev Parajuli, owner of Khampa Treks and Expedition Pvt Ltd at Pokhara.

"Had the situation been peaceful many tourists would have visited Beni around this time," he said. How can one tread over blood and corpses? he questioned. "Many tourists returned via air after the Beni attack and the situation is worst now."Gehendra Gurung of ACAP said,"The flow of tourists in the region had increased in January and February. But the Beni attack will surely have an adverse effect on tourist arrival in the region."The three months of Falgun, Chaitra and Baisakh are considered as the good season for tourism.

Vedprakash Upadhyaya, chief of Tourism Office, Pokhara, however, said tourists do not have to face any difficulty due to Beni incident. "We do not have any information regarding the cancellation of booking or return of tourists from their way yet," he said. The world famous trekking route around the Annapurna region is extended in 7,629 square km of 55 VDCs of Kaski, Lamjung, Myagdi, Manang and Mustang. It starts from Bensisahar of Lamjung.