By Prem Adhikari, Pashupatinagar (Ilam), Apr. 3: Rudra Ghimire, the tourism entrepreneur of Antu has his hands full lately on giving hospitality to tourists. Because of the influx of tourists, he is having hectic days, serving them all around the clock, so is the schedule of all the tourism entrepreneurs of Antu.
The tourism business of Antu and Kanyam, which collapsed owing to the lockdown after the COVID-19 pandemic, is now flourishing.
Businessman Ghimire said, “There is an influx of domestic tourists. Sometimes it becomes demanding as well.”
The major tourist destinations of Ilam, Antu, and Kanyam, have been crowded with domestic tourists following the decrease in the risk of the COVID-19 pandemic and prelude of the colourful spring season. And, some tourist visits the place to relish the beauty of the rising sunrise.
Ghimire, who is also the secretary of the Sri Antu Tourism Businessmen's Association, said that the tourism business, which was severely distressed by the lockdown, has returned to its previous state in a short time.
At present, more than 400 tourists visit Antu daily and the number has increased from 1,500 to 2,000 on Friday. There are 55 homestays under Antudanda Community Homestay and 14 homestays under Antu Pokhari Community Homestay.
There are 43 other hotels and cottages made of wood. Most of the homestays, hotels and cottages are crowded.
Dhan Kumar Ale, the chairman of Antu Danda Community Homestay, said that the situation was satisfactory considering the period of lockdown after the infection of COVID-19 and the comparison of tourists after the lockdown was opened.
“There is no need to run away from this business like in other places. Here, everyone’s business is gaining momentum,” said Ale.
Tourists are lured by the beautiful sunrise, boat ride on the pond, take pictures in Chiyabari and enjoy the taste of local food. Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, many hotels and cottages are being added in Antu, which sees tourists all around the year.
Kanyam, which records the large inflow of tourists, is also crowded with tourists this season even after the pandemic, is full of internal tourists who come for sightseeing and picnics.
Tourists visit Kanyam to enjoy horse riding, dress in the indigenous costumes and take pictures in the beautiful tea garden and enjoy the scenic mountains.
Tek Raj Giri, a hotel owner in Kanyam informed that the tourist traffic has skyrocketed recently. He, said, “We don’t have to worry about the fate of our employment and business as the inflow of tourists is rising.”
Indian and Bengali tourists, including locals, visit Kanyam.
Tourists taste the different types of tea produced locally. Kanyam, Antu of Suryodaya Municipality, which has been declared a ‘touristic place’, by the state government, has been crowded with tourists for 12 months.
Beautifying Antu and Kanyam
The Suryodaya Municipality is working to beautify Antu and Kanyam, the tourist spots of Ilam which are crowded with domestic tourists.
Infrastructure construction has gained momentum after the government declared Antu as a topmost place for ‘village tourism’ and tourist destination.
Suryodaya Municipality has completed embellishment work in Antudanda in a total of Rs 10 million has been invested by the municipality for the completion of the project.
A foot trail has been constructed around the footpath and tower from the municipality in the Antudanda area. Similarly, work is underway to widen the road and install railings around the road in Kanyam.
Tourist parks and footpaths are being constructed in various places.
Rana Bahadur Rai, Mayor of Suryodaya Municipality informed that the development of tourist sites would be the first priority as the main source of the city is tourism business.
He said, “We are moving forward on the model of tourism-friendly development.”