Chitwan tourism seeks new route for travel

- Bimal Khatiwada, MAKWANPUR

Jul 26, 2017-

Tourism entrepreneurs of Chitwan are seeking an alternative road route to the district after experiencing a sharp decline in tourist arrival due to sorry state of Narayanghat-Mugling highway. 

After facing sharp decline in business, entrepreneurs under the leadership of Hotel Association Nepal (HAN) Chitwan Chapter have conducted an inspection visit of the Naubise-Daman-Hetauda-Bharatpur road to use the route as an alternative to revive their business. 

“During our inspection, we found Daman-Hetauda road as best alternative to the Mugling-Narayangaht highway and we have decided to request the concerned authority to make arrangements for one-way transportation through new route,” said Bhes Raj Duwadi, second president of the chapter, “As the road is very narrow and has sharp turnings, the road is not suitable for two way vehicular movement as well as cargo and big passenger vehicle. Therefore, we will request for only one way vehicular movement.” The association is planning to initiate discussion on using the alternative route with representatives of the district, security agencies, traffic police and entrepreneurs. “After such discussion, we will then inform travel agencies and tourists to use the alternative route,” said Suman Ghimire, president of the chapter. 

Currently, popular tourist destinations like Shaura, Meghauli, Patihani and Kashara of Chitwan are almost vacant.  Tourists are starting to cancel their Chitwan tour plan and are going to other tourist hotspots like Pokhara and Bandipur instead. This has gotten hotel entrepreneurs in the district concerned as bookings are being cancelled at an alarming rate.

Tourism entrepreneurs have warned that adventure seekers may give the go-by to the popular jungle safari destination of Chitwan, if the road condition does not improve. 

The so-called golden triangle tour consisting of Chitwan, Pokhara and Lumbini is a widely popular circuit among sightseers in Nepal, and travel traders are worried that one of the components could be tossed out of tour packages due to the disastrous condition of the highway linking the destination.

Potential tourists are not responding to Chitwan packages at international travel marts and it has raised concerns that the safari destination might lose its competitiveness. Entrepreneurs are worried because once a destination is removed from tour packages, it may take a long time for it to be reinstated. 

According to the hoteliers, operating flights between Chitwan and Pokhara could be an option to provide another access route. Traditionally, trekkers returning from the Annapurna Circuit continue on to Chitwan to enjoy a jungle safari.

Published: 26-07-2017 08:54

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