May 13: The construction of a road inside Nepali territory in Lipulek by India has not only sent ripples across the political circle but also in the tourism sector. The tourism industry is likely to bear huge losses due to the construction of the vital road that links India with Mansarowar, a polgirmage site in Tibet.
So far, most of the Indian tourists have been visiting the holy site through Nepal. Although it is possible to reach Mansarowar from India’s Sikkim, pilgrims from India prefer to visit the lake through Nepal due to convenience.
Generally, Indian pilgrims visit Mansarovar between May to September. However, China has banned the visit this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Next year, it is very much likely that Indian pilgrims will use the new route constructed by India by encroaching Nepal’s territory. This means, the tourism industry of Nepal will lose billions of rupees as well as employment. Hotel entrepreneurs who have invested heavily in Nepalgunj and Humla targeting Indian tourists will have to suffer great losses as well.
The new route opened by India last week is the shortest distance to Mansarowar. The pilgrimage site is just 100 kilometers from Lipulek while it is 110 kilometers from Hilsa of Humla. Tourism entrepreneurs say they are likely to loose 30,000 Indian pilgrims annually.