Hotel occupancy rate in Nepal dives down

28th Aug, 2017 | Tourism Mail Crew

KATHMANDU, August 28: The occupancy rate among major tourist standard hotels across the country has declined this monsoon as compared to previous years owing to the recent floods and landslides in the country.

Both domestic and foreign tourists are not in the mood to plan their journey to Nepal after the recent floods and landslides created havoc in different parts of the country. Consequently, the occupancy rates in major hotels have been limited to merely 50 per cent this monsoon compared to an average of 60 per cent during the previous monsoon, according to Hotel Association Nepal (HAN), an umbrella body of tourist standard hotels of the country.

“Tourists often do not prefer outbound activities during the monsoon and the flow of tourists (both via land and air) to Nepal this monsoon has been hampered further by the recent floods,” said Amar Man Shakya, president of HAN.

According to him, hotel occupancy in flood-affected districts like Chitwan, Morang and Bardia is much lower, while occupancy in some of the city-centred star hotels is around 50 per cent.

Binayak Shah, manager of the Airport Hotel in Sinamangal, said that the recent floods have basically affected Indian tourists who come to Nepal via land routes. “Majority of roads connecting the Valley with Tarai has been affected by the floods while other highways are vulnerable to landslides during the monsoon in Nepal. Owing to the adverse tourism atmosphere due to the monsoon, both foreign and domestic tourists have been either postponing their visit to Nepal or cancelling their bookings,” Shah said.

Shah, who is also the spokesperson for HAN, informed that hotels in the flood-affected districts have resumed their services which were affected for a couple of days last week and appealed to potential visitors to visit districts like Chitwan and Bardia.

Similarly, Hotel Annapurna is likely to miss its occupancy target for August by three per cent due to the monsoon havoc. Shreejana Rana, executive director of Hotel Annapurna, said that though the current dip in hotel occupancy is not alarming, the government should focus on infrastructure development to boost tourist inflow and promote the country’s hospitality sector.

On top of that, hoteliers are optimistic that inflow of tourists and the hotel occupancy rate will go up from September. “With some sort of stability in the country’s politics and efforts from all stakeholders, Nepal has been receiving good number of tourists in 2017. We are optimistic that a record-high number of tourists will visit Nepal in 2017,” said Shah of Airport Hotel.

As per statistics of the Department of Immigration (DoI), the tourist inflow to Nepal has jumped by 46.8 per cent in the first six months of 2017 compared to the same period last year. According to DoI, the country received a total of 460,237 tourists in the first half of this year via air route, against 313,512 in the corresponding period of the previous year.