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Tourists flock to Chitwan on New Year

- RAMESH KUMAR POUDEL, Chitwan

Apr 15, 2019-

Kamal Acharya from Kathmandu celebrated the Nepali New Year with an elephant ride at Chitwan. Like Acharya, hordes of tourists from across the country descended upon Sauraha to celebrate the New Year.

And with New Year eve falling on the weekend, nearly 500 people booked elephant rides on Saturday. Ruman Chaudhary, a staff of United Elephant Cooperatives, said that a similar number of people will book elephant rides during the New Year itself, on Sunday.

“Normally, we get around 150 people a day but the number surges drastically during Dashain and Tihar as well as the New Year,” he said.

Tourists arriving at Chitwan generally visit Chitwan National Park and the nearby community forest. Majority of them book an elephant ride. Similarly, visitors also go for a boat ride along the Rapti River and jeep ride around the conservation area.

Around 200,000 domestic and international tourists visit Chitwan National Park.

“Both the weekend and New Year occurred at same time which also contributed to the surge in number of tourists,” said Ram Mani Khanal, general secretary of the association. Many bring their children as well for a short vacation before the start of a new school session.

With the sudden rise in tourists to the area, hotels were fully booked. “Some hotel owners had to turn back guests, citing the lack of rooms,” said Suman Ghimire, president of Regional Hotel Association, Sauraha.

Ganesh Poudel, director at Jungle Villa Hotel said that all the rooms at the hotels were booked over the period. His hotel has 60 beds.

Other than five international tourists, the remaining rooms were booked by domestic tourists coming from Butwal, Bhairahawa, Pokhara and Birgunj.

Likewise, Subodh Pradhan, director of Meghauli Hotel at Sarang said that his hotel received a good number of tourists. He said that all hotels connected with the conservation area were filled with people celebrating the New Year.

Hotels in Sauraha have a total bed capacity of 6,000 while nearby hotels have bed capacity for 12,000 tourists.

Published: 15-04-2019 08:16

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