Rafting spurs tourist arrivals in Sindhupalchowk

19th Apr, 2017 | Tourism Mail Crew

KATHMANDU, April 19 : The number of tourists arriving at places along Sunkoshi and Bhotekoshi has rebounded strongly after a year long slump caused by the deadly earthquake of 2015.

According to tourism entrepreneurs, resorts along the rivers, starting from Barhabise, have been attracting up to 1,000 domestic and 500 foreign tourists weekly.

Increased tourist movement for water activities has cheered the resorts and hotels in the district.

Foreign and domestic visitors come to the resorts near the rivers to enjoy thrills like bungee jumping, rafting, canoeing and other activities. Rafting is the most popular adventure sport among visitors.

“Tourism in the river areas has improved mainly because of rafting,” said Mahendra Singh Thapa, former manager of the Sukute Adventure Resort. After the earthquake, more than 300,000 people have visited these popular rivers for rafting, he said. “Water activities have created nearly 10,000 jobs.” Most visitors are Nepalis.

The Sunkoshi and Bhotekoshi rivers have received widespread publicity due to their adventure potential. They have been included in the top 10 list of rivers for rafting by National Geographic.

Suresh Karmacharya of Bhaktapur went to the Sukute Resort in Sindhupalchok to enjoy rafting. Along with Karmacharya, there were 50 other river rafters. “We all enjoyed a lot,” he said.

Scalone Rirya, an American, had come to the resort with a group of 15 people. “This is my first time to go rafting,” he said. “We have planned a long stay or almost a week here.”

Although Nepal is famous for numerous adventure activities, ranging from paragliding to mountaineering, the number of foreign tourists coming for water adventures is small.

The water tourism industry, which had been quiet after the earthquake, is beginning to recover. The 2015 disaster led to the closure of a number of hotels and resorts. All of them are now back in business. A number of new resorts and hotels are also being built in the area.

Currently, two new resorts and a hotel are being constructed on the banks of the Sunkoshi River, giving an indication that tourism is growing. “There are a lot of resorts coming up here because of good tourism prospects,” said Malik Narayan Shrestha, the owner of a new hotel being constructed in the area. He has spent Rs20 million on the property.

There are 16 hotels and resorts in the district, according to the Nepal Association of Rafting Agencies (Nara). Among them, four are located on the river banks.