January 24: The number of tourists visiting the Annapurna Circuit has declined in recent days. Tourism entrepreneurs are greatly concerned about the declining number of tourists along the Annapurna Circuit, which is considered as one of the most important tourist destinations in the world tourism market.
The number of tourists visiting the Annapurna Circuit has reduced to almost zero since the last ten days. The main reason for decline in the number of tourists is the increasing risk of Covid-19 alongside fall in temperature resulting in extreme cold in this region. Tourism entrepreneurs say that their source of income has come to a halt due to non-arrival of tourists.
Bahadur Gurung, a tourism assistant at the Annapurna Conservation Area Project (ACAP) Tourist Inspection Center, Dharapani, said that the number of tourists has sharply declined in recent times. The Annapurna Circuit used to receive 50-60 tourists daily after a decline in the rate of Covid-19 infections.
“The tourist destination, which recently started to recover from the slump caused by the Covid-19 is about to face the hardship again. It is uncertain until when the Covid-19 is going to last. But if the circuit does not get operational for a long time, the tourism entrepreneurs have to face a great loss,” said Gurung.
More than 35,000 tourists visit this circuit in an annual basis. The main source of income for most of these tourism entrepreneurs is tourists. But with the decline in tourist arrivals in the circuit due to the Covid-19, the tourism entrepreneurs fear they will not have any income, which will make it difficult for the family to make ends meet.
Pachh Bahadur Gurung of Lamjung Marshyangdi Rural Municipality-4 Jagat, a tourism entrepreneur in Annapurna Circuit, said, “We used to earn 30-40 thousand rupees daily when there was a good number of tourists, but now the income has become zero due to decline in the number of tourists.”