Hotel room occupancy in Nepal went down by around 10 percent over the first two months of 2013 mainly due to the drop in the number of Indian tourists.
Hoteliers said room bookings by Indian tourists for the upcoming months (May-June) also do not look encouraging.
Yogendra Thapa, sales director of Hotel Barahi, Pokhara, said room occupancy in his hotel was affected because of the drop in the number of Indian tourists.
“The number of Indian tourists in January-February period has come down compared to figures of the same period of 2012,” said Thapa.
Bharat Joshi, resident manager of Hotel Yak and Yeti said, drop in the number of Indian tourists has been seen in almost all the segments.
“Occupancy from pilgrimage, MICE (Meeting Incentives Conference and Exhibition) and leisure segments have come down massively,” Joshi said, adding that bookings for the upcoming months also do not look promising.
Officials of Hotel Association of Nepal (HAN), the apex body of Nepali hotels, said most of the hotels have reported drop in occupancy for the January-February period. Madhav Om Shrestha, executive director of HAN, said major drop has been seen in the pilgrimage segment.
“There are several factors. Pilgrimage segment has slowed down in the lack of promotional activities,” said Shrestha.
Movement of Indian tourists generally increases during Shivaratri festival (second week of March), hoteliers say number of Indian tourists was negligible this time around.
“Many Indians still think sites like Pashupatinath temple are not easily accessible to them. This is happening because of the lack of effective promotional activities,” Shrestha said.
“It is unfortunate that Nepal Tourism Board has been failing to launch effective promotional activities in the southern neighbor in the absence of chief executive officer.”
Tourism entrepreneurs also say potential Indian tourists are diverting to other cheaper destinations like Bangkok and Kuala Lumpur.
The statistics of Immigration Office at Tribhuvan International Airport (TIA) shows number of tourists from India via declined by 18.2 percent in January and 26.1 percent in February.
Only 16,500 Indian tourists visited Nepal in the January-February period of 2013, compared to 21,300 recorded during the period in 2012.