Chinese make up half of arrivals to Poon Hill

by The Kathmandu Post 173 views0

Myagdi, November 11, 2016: Chinese tourists have fallen in love with the famous Ghandruk-Ghorepani-Poon Hill trail which offers a short and scenic trek in the Annapurna area. More than half of the visitors at this popular sightseeing destination are from the northern neighbour.

During the period mid-September to mid-October, 7,000 foreigners arrived in Ghorepani, and there were 4,000 Chinese among them, the Tourist Police Office in Ghorepani said.
As per the statistics released by the office, the spot receives around 400 tourists daily. The Tourist Police Office does not keep records of Nepali and Indian visitors to the area. It estimated that their were 60-70 of them daily.
“The seven-day Ghandruk-Ghorepani-Poon Hill trek has become greatly popular among Chinese tourists,” said Teksir Buddaja, a local tourism entrepreneur. “While other foreigners visit this place during the peak season, Chinese travellers are round-the-year visitors,” he said. “There are an equal number of arrivals every month.”
Tourism entrepreneurs said that Chinese tourists also spend more compared to other visitors. However, the only problem when handling Chinese tourists is language as a majority of them don’t understand English.
“Due to swelling arrivals from China, there are no seasonal dips, no off season,” said Arjun Pun, another entrepreneur at Poon Hill. “Chinese tourists do not hesitate to open their wallets wide, but we have not been able to benefit from their increased arrivals due to limited offers and language barrier.”
The period mid-October to mid-November has been a record month in terms of tourist arrivals in the area. “More than 450 tourists visit the area daily during this time,” said Dum Bahadur Pun, chairman of the Ghorepani Conservation and Management Committee. “Arrivals are at record levels.”
According to government statistics, arrivals from China plunged 28 percent to 33,991 in the first six months of 2016. Nepal has implemented a free visa on arrival policy for Chinese tourists to boost arrivals from the northern neighbor since January, but results have not been satisfactory as of the first half of the year.
Travel trade entrepreneurs attributed the fall in the number of Chinese tourists to reduced flight frequency of Chinese carriers. However, airlines have now gone back to their normal frequency.
Meanwhile, domestic tourist movement has been on a gradual rise at Poon Hill. The 3,210-metre-high vantage point is located between Mt Annapurna on the right and Mt Dhaulagiri on the left. There are more than 30 hotels and guesthouses in the area generating 700 room nights. Travel trade entrepreneurs said that all the hotels are usually filled with visitors.

By Ghanshyam Khadka

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