September 25: The number of hotels has increased in the Thamel area of Kathmandu, which is a popular tourist destination. This is the result of businessmen resuming the plan to build hotels that was put on hold due to Covid-19.
With the announcement of the government to celebrate 'Nepal Visit Year' in 2020, businessmen had planned to open more hotels and restaurants in Thamel area. The government had announced an ambitious plan to bring 2 million tourists in the tourism year. However, the the Covid-19 pandemic slowed down the tourist activity, and the businessmen stalled their plans. Bhaweshwar Sharma, chairman of Thamel Tourism Development Council informed New Business Age that the number of hotels have increased in the Thamel area as businessmen increased their investment as the Covid-19 pandemic has subsided.
“As the Covid-19 has subsided, the infrastructure development increased rapidly. Some are under construction,” said Sharma. Some of the added hotels include Aloft, Barahi, Agantuk, Kailashkut, and Surya.
Sharma informed that the work of collecting data of various businesses in this area is continuing even after the pandemic. He said, “During the collection of data, it was found that a total of 573 hotels are currently operating in this area. Before the onset of Covid-19, only 373 hotels were operating in this area in 2019." According to him, this number includes five-star to tourist level hotels.
At present, the hotels in this area have the capacity to serve 35,000 tourists on a daily basis. Although the hotel infrastructure has increased, the number of tourists has not increased proportionately though. Before Covid-19, around 5,000 to 7,000 tourists used to visit this area daily, which is around 4,000 to 5,000 at present.
With the increase in the number of tourists coming to the country, the number of people arriving at Thamel has also increased.
“This number is not significant though. Currently the occupancy of the hotels here is 40 to 50 percent. However, we estimate that it will reach 75 percent to 80 percent by the end of the tourist season,” Sharma said.
The council is also making necessary preparations for night business in Thamel, providing 24-hour service facilities to the tourists. On Sunday, the council and Hotel Association Nepal (HAN) organized an interaction program in the presence of hoteliers of Thamel area, metropolitan police circle Durbarmarg and police chief of Sohrakhutte.
General Secretary of HAN, Sajan Shakya, said that cooperation is necessary to create an environment where they can safely visit Thamel. He emphasized that the number of hotels, restaurants, and travel companies increased in this area as compared to the period before Covid-19, and that now there is need for the cooperation between police and businessmen as well.
Similarly, Chaturbhuj Ojha, head of Metropolitan Police Circle, Sohrakhutte said that the police administration is ready to help Thamel tourism and businesses. Ojha added that the police are ready to cooperate as long as the businessmen do not violate the law.
“Businessmen should strictly follow the law, let's work under the law rather than taking quick benefits. Let's cooperate in tourism promotion and security,” said Ojha