- Basudev Poudel
As soon as the business came to a standstill, the workers in this sector were unemployed. As the first wave of Corona subsided last year, the second wave of epidemics has ruined the hopes of Pokhara’s tourism entrepreneurs.
In order to revive tourism, tourism entrepreneurs in Pokhara have demanded the federal government to ensure vaccination. Led by the Pokhara Tourism Council, the Chief Minister of the state has recently met the concerned federal Minister and demanded immediate vaccination to make the tourism sector operational in Gandaki province.
Council Chairman Gopi Bahadur Bhattarai said that in the first phase, 5,000 vaccines against corona are urgently needed targeting workers and businessmen including hotels and restaurants.
“Even though 20,000 vaccines are needed for tourism entrepreneurs in Pokhara, we have demanded to provide 5,000 vaccines for the time being to send a good message to the tourism market,” he said.
Claiming that the Rs 1 billion business survival fund brought by the Gandaki state government last year was not accessible to most of the small and medium entrepreneurs, he said the loan schedule should be rescheduled as there was no possibility of repaying the loan installments and interest for banks and financial institutions for the next two years.
Entrepreneurs who have reached out for investment in Pokhara’s tourism have been shocked by the series of corona havoc one after another. The snow-capped mountains like Annapurna covered with snow have turned pale.
The tourism sector is still not a priority of the state and the tourism entrepreneurs who are in direct contact with the public are still not vaccinated against coronavirus.
In the past also in the name of Nepal Tourism Year, Gandaki Pradesh Tourism Year, tourism entrepreneurs here had built infrastructure with a huge investment with the aim of attracting the maximum number of tourists. Over 12298 people have got employment from this business.
Similarly, 100 entrepreneurs are affiliated with restaurants and bars. Entrepreneurs have invested crores of rupees in tourism-related paragliding and ultralight, trekking equipment shop, embroidery and garment shop, tourist transport business, village tourism, mountaineering in Pokhara, while the bank’s investment has remained the same.
Around 21,000 people are employed in all kinds of tourism-related businesses in Pokhara. There is concern about how to save the manpower to be deployed in this area when the business is closed due to the Coronavirus disaster.
Kashiraj Bhandari, head of the Gandaki state office of the Nepal Tourism Board, said that the issue of ‘branding’ tourism in the entire Gandaki region, including Pokhara, has been given priority with the belief that the tourism sector will soon be operational despite the Corona disaster.
Myagdi. Tourists have started coming here for mountaineering. Tourists have started coming…