July 20, 2024, Saturday
Nepal 1:37:26 pm

Annapurna Circuit receives less tourists

The Nepal Weekly
June 11, 2024

The number of visitors in the Manang section of the Annapurna Circuit, the world-famous trek, has been decreasing in recent days. The Manang section of the trek links five districts of the region.

Some two weeks ago, approximately 250 tourists used to trek here daily, but their number has dropped significantly in the past week. The Annapurna Conservation Area Project (ACAP) Tourist Check and Information Centre in Dharapani, Manang, reported that daily only 15 to 25 trekkers have been arriving in the Manang section of the Circuit in recent days.

Bhupendra Gurung, head of the Information Centre, informed that around 12 days ago, nearly 250 tourists were visiting daily, but now it has dropped to about 40 to 50 visitors per day. The number of tourists in the area is continuously declining, according to Gurung.

On Tuesday, only nine tourists were seen on the trek and their number dropped further to four on Friday, he added. He said that the tourist flow would further decrease, before picking up again in mid-August.  In the past, 500 to 600 tourists used to trek the trail daily.  

The flow of tourists, which had slowed down due to the COVID-19 pandemic, has not revived yet. According to tourism entrepreneurs, the hotels and restaurants along the Circuit and its surroundings have also become deserted with the decline in tourist arrivals.

 Tourism entrepreneur Baburam Tamang from Chamhe said that previously, with the influx of tourists, daily earnings ranged from Rs. 30,000 to Rs. 40,000. However, due to the decline in tourist numbers, the current income has dropped to only Rs. 5,000 to Rs. 10,000 per day. He further informed that during the rainy season, income comes to a complete halt.

Another tourism entrepreneur, Ram Bahadur Gurung, said, “A few tourists visited the hotel a week ago but business has completely halted since then.” During this year’s season, they earned around Rs. 800,000 and had to manage household expenses with that amount throughout the year. Tourism and businesses would get a new lease of life again after August, he added.

According to the Tourist Information Centre with the onset of the rainy season, travelling becomes difficult due to floods and landslides. From January to June 4, 2024, only 10,279 foreign tourists visited the trail. Among the tourists, the highest numbers were from France (1,049), Israel (831), Germany (771) and China (696).

From January 1 to June 4, 2023, a total of 9,241 tourists visited the trail. Tourists come to the Annapurna Circuit to see various mountain ranges, cultures, traditions and lifestyles of the Manang people. They also travel from Manang to Mustang or Pokhara via the Annapurna Trail. The entry point to the Annapurna Trail is in Manange Chautara, Besisahar Municipality-7, Lamjung. The trail connects five districts — Lamjung, Kaski, Manang, Mustang and Myagdi. Tourism entrepreneurs believe that the decrease in tourists might be due to economic recession and the deteriorating condition of the trail.