Pokhara's tourism industry attracts Rs 300m new investment
POKHARA, Aug 9: Tourism industry in Pokhara attracted fresh investment of more than Rs 300 million over the past year. The new investments came mainly on hotel, travel and trekking sub-sectors, according to Pokhara Tourism Office.
According to the office, the hotel business attracted around two-third of the new investments in 2011/12. During the year, 46 new hotels were established in the lake city at the investment of Rs 230 million.
With these new additions, the number of hotels in Pokhara has increased to about 600. Likewise, the lake city also saw registration of 20 new travel agencies during the period. “This brought in new investment of Rs 65 million in the travel agency business,” said Giridhari Dhakal, chief of Pokhara Tourism Office, adding that number of travel agencies in Pokhara has now reached 124.
Likewise, six new trekking companies started operations during the fiscal year. Together, they injected Rs 25 million in the industry.
Dhakal attributed the rise in investment to healthy increase in tourist arrivals. “The investment in tourism is relatively safer. That too must have buoyed the investors´ confidence,” he stated.
Though the industry is not performing well of late due to strikes of May and political instability since the dissolution of the Constituent Assembly, officials say the industry can attract more investments if sustainable peace is restored in the country.
The scope of greater investment has surfaced mainly as the city is enjoying a consistent rise in foreign tourist arrivals over the past few years. Apart from that, it has also started luring more domestic tourists by organizing various promotional campaigns and offering attractive discounts.
“In the past, entrepreneurs were mostly relying on foreign tourists. But the base has widened dramatically in recent years with more Nepalis visiting the city,” said Dhakal. This change in travel habits of Nepalis and their growing interested toward traveling and trekking activities has brought in a fundamental change in the industry´s outlook, he added.
Tourism entrepreneurs echoed Dhakal. “Entrepreneurs are ready to inject more capital in the industry. They only want one thing from the government, restoration of peace and banda-free environment,” said Kedar Sharma, president of Gandaki Chapter of Nepal Association of Tours and Travel Agents (NATTA).
They also asked the government to invest more on infrastructures like roads, trekking trails, parking facilities, expansion of airport and products display centers, to attract more investment in the sector.
According to the office, the industry in Pokhara has so far received investment of about Rs 55 billion.