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Tourism in Langtang on the upswing

RASUWA:  Tourist arrivals to the popular trekking destination of Langtang Valley in Rasuwa have increased with the end of monsoon. The September-November period also marks the peak tourist season as weather is pleasant in the mountainous region.

Keshav Bhetwal, an official of Langtang National Park, said that the flow of tourists has been increasing in the region since last three days. Currently, 80 to 90 foreign trekkers have been entering the park from Dhunchhe checkpoint daily.

Visitors began avoiding Langtang after a devastating avalanche set off by the earthquake on April 25, 2015 swept away an entire village. More than 650 people died in the disaster, and more than 100 are still listed as missing. Langtang National Park is located north of Kathmandu and adjoins the Chinese border. According to park record, tourist arrivals dropped to 4,292 in fiscal 2015-16, or to less than a third of the usual number of trekkers who visit the park annually. Before the earthquake, more than 15,000 tourists used to visit Langtang every year.

Arrivals began swelling after new hotels were constructed and foot trails damaged by the quake were repaired. In the fiscal year 2016-17, more than 8,000 tourists visited Langtang. As Langtang has short trekking routes, it receives hoards of domestic as well as foreign trekkers.

The valley’s trekking trails are unique selling propositions, as there are three trails open to tourists, according to travel trade entrepreneurs. Panoramic views of Langtang Himal and Gosaikunda Lake and the diverse flora and fauna of Langtang National Park are the major attractions of the valley. Tourists can now trek over three foot trails: Dhunche-Gosaikunda-Helambu, Syaphrubesi-Langtang and Tamang Sampada Marg in the Langtang area.

Many hotels have opened in Langtang, Sindhum and Kyanjin. Around 35 hotels are in operation in Kyanjin alone. Locals and hoteliers are using mule caravans to transport food and construction materials.

Subba Lama, a hotel entrepreneur of Chandanbari, said Langtang has been receiving a large number of domestic visitors nowadays. According to him, more than 300 domestic trekkers visited Gosainkunda after the Dashain festival. Langtang is gaining popularity among domestic visitors due to its proximity with the Kathmandu. It also offers short trekking options.

According to the park record, tourists from 24 countries have visited Langtang since September.

Shops, hotels and restaurants can be found along the trails every one or two hours, which allows for comfortable trekking in the mountainous region.

–  By Balram Ghimire for TKP

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