Voters want candidates to boost tourism of Chitwan
Voters of Chitwan district have sought concrete plans to boost tourism from the candidates contesting the elections to the House of Representatives and Provincial Assembly.
Chitwan is the third major tourism destination of Nepal.
Tourism entrepreneurs have argued that a concrete plan to boost the area’s tourism has been missing in the commitment papers of the candidates and political parties.
“We have expected that the elected representatives will address the issue this time,” said Suman Ghimire, a tourism entrepreneur of Sauraha, Chitwan.
Ghimire added, “Only if the road or air transport to Chitwan is made comfortable, more visitors will come to visit Chitwan and help boost the area’s tourism sector.”
He said that the candidates contesting elections from Chitwan should prioritise tourism development since it is the major industry in the district.
General Secretary of Regional Hotel Association, Sauraha, Gunraj Thapaliya stressed that the road to enter Sauraha from Chitrasari was itself dusty.
“We often face unofficial loadshedding, many places get inundated in monsoon and the interest rate of banks have been affecting the tourism sector continuously. Lack of proper management has only intensified the problems,” said Thapaliya.
He added that the representatives elected previously, and the candidates contesting the upcoming election have failed to assure even the conservation of vegetation and wildlife in the region,”
Meanwhile, Dr. Biswo Poudel, former vice-chairman of the National Planning Commission, informed that he had a clear agenda to boost tourism sector of Chitwan. He is the candidate of the Nepali Congress for the House of Representatives (HoR) in Constituency 1 of Chitwan.
“When I was at the National Planning Commission, I lobbied for budget to construct a four-lane bridge and a four-lane road from Chitrasari to Sauraha. The road from Sauraha to Kathar is also being expanded with a cycle lane,” Poudel added.
Poudel informed that he has a plan to allocate at least Rs. 150 to Rs. 200 million annually for Sauraha Urban Development Project.
Similarly, CPN-UML candidate Surendra Pandey argued that he had plans for the area’s tourism development as well. Pandey is vice chairman and former finance minister.
“First, Nepalis should be encouraged to visit different places throughout a year rather than a one-week tour annually. A tourist visiting the mountains should also be attracted to the plains of the Terai. I plan to implement special plans and packages for this,” said Pandey.
However, tourism entrepreneurs informed that their demands and previous assurances were not addressed effectively.
“We have been requesting to increase the stay period of tourists in the Chitwan National Park to three days from one day.
Locals have also demanded that they should be allowed to collect fodder inside the national park for local elephants. These demands have always fall on deaf ears,” said Thapaliya.
Members of the association also stressed the need for promoting several tourism destinations, other than Sauraha, across Chitwan.
Religious site Devghat, Siraichuli’s view of sunrise and Meghauli’s view of sunset, historical fort Upperdang Gadi and Lamo Jharana, a 60-metre-high waterfall, are also in Chitwan.
There are 150 hotels for tourists in Chitwan with a capacity of more than 7,500 beds. The average occupancy of the hotels is 40-50 per cent. Until some time ago, the occupancy had fallen to 10 per cent, according to the association. source risingnepaldaily