Mid-west attracting tourists, but lacks promotion

Surkhet, Nov. 11: Even with minimal publicity, several places in mid-west Nepal are drawing visitors.Of late, Rara Lake and Kuvinde Daha have become major attractions for domestic tourists.

“The number of domestic tourists has increased in Rara and Kuvinde not because of the initiatives taken by the stakeholders. But because the media and journalists brought these beautiful spots to public attention,” photo journalist Bharat Bandu Thapa, a campaigner for a Prosperous Mid-West, said.

Though this region, Province No. 6, is home to several historical, archeological and natural heritage sites of immense tourism potential, the lack of effective initiatives from the concerned stakeholders has left tourism development to happen on its own.

Thapa said that the pace of tourism development in the region was slow because the local stakeholders and concerned government authorities were apathetic to the idea.

Potential tourism destinations of the region include Rara Lake of Mugu, Shey Phoksundo Lake of Dolpa, Kankre Bihar ruins that resemble the Angkor Wat temples of Cambodia and Bulbule of Surkhet, Pancha Debal, Jwalaji and the first stone-inscription of Dailekh and Kuvinde Daha of Salyan.

Thapa blamed the concerned authorities for not making even nominal contribution for tourism development of the mid-west region.

Tourism promotion of the region cannot rely totally on the media, he said, urging the stakeholders to play a leading role to bring visitors in large numbers to the region.

Following some media coverage of Rara Lake, every day around 300 domestic tourists are visiting the lake during the favourable season, but, hardly a dozen tourists visited Kankre Bihar, known as the second Lumbini for Buddhists, said Thapa.

Thapa said that the government authorities, hotel entrepreneurs and associations of industry and trade should take major initiatives for the promotion of tourism destinations as the business community would be the major beneficiary of any development here.

“Most hotels showcase the photos of Pokhara and tourism destinations of the eastern region,” he said. “Tourism attractions of the mid-west will increase if hotels start displaying photos of the enchanting destinations of the region.”

Govinda Prasad Sharma, a resident of Surkhet, who recently visited Rara Lake, said that the number of domestic tourists visiting the lake during the winter had significantly increased.

“Owing to the increased number of tourists visiting Rara, hotels of Mugu and Jumla are full during the season,” he said.

Sharma suggested upgrading the road network to reach Rara Lake to bring in even more tourists.

Tarka Bahadur Shahi, president of Hotel Association of Surkhet, however, claimed that the business community was also taking initiatives for the region’s tourism development.

He said that their association had collected Rs. 300,000 while organising the Deusi-Bhailo programme during the Tihar festival. “The money will be spent for the promotion of tourism destinations of the region,” he said.

In a bid to promote the tourism destinations of the mid-west, Managhari Foundation is organising a photo exhibition from November 17 to 20 in Kathmandu. Photos depicting the art and culture, tourism and natural, historical and archeological monuments of the region are to feature in the exhibition.



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