Quake-Ravaged Nepal Faces Another Hit As Number Of Tourists Dwindle
As if recovering from the twin quakes that struck Nepal wasn’t enough, the locals are getting more anxious how to make ends meet as the number of tourists to the country start to dwindle.
Hem Gurung, one of the many local boatmen, told AFP Nepal has become somewhat of a deserted island after the double tremors in April and May. “Without tourists there is no work.”
He said he used to earn thousands when tourist season hits its peak season. But Pokhara has been empty since the earthquake that now the 49-year-old said he’s lucky to make a hundred or two [$1-2] a day.
Dal Bahadur Limbu, who runs Kathmandu-based travel agent Fast Travel and Tours, said tourists have shied away from the country due to fears the quake onslaughts could happen again anytime soon. Many Western countries, including the United States, Britain and Canada, haven’t lifted their respective non-essential travel ban to Nepal.
Limbu said the very obvious manifestation of this fear is the number of tour bookings that have been cancelled, which was 90 percent scheduled until September. “Revenue from this season is gone.”
In fact, compared year-on-year from April 25, the day tragedy struck Nepal, bookings have dropped 95 percent.
Although the twin quake tragedies wiped many popular tourist destinations, there are others that were untouched and remained intact. These included those backpacker cafes, hotels and handicraft stores located in Pokhara, the Annapurna trails in the country’s west, the wildlife-rich national parks of the southern plains and Buddha’s birthplace, Lumbini, according to the AFP.