Saturday, 19 September, 2020

Chandragiri: Nepal’s first integrated tourist destination


Ballav Dahal
Chandragiri has now emerged as a preferred integrated tourist destination with increased inflow of domestic as well as international travellers into the scenic hilltop.
The beautiful hill destination has become a hotspot among tourists since August 2016 when Chandragiri Hills Limited launched a cable car that links Thankot with Chandragiri. The one-way length of the cable car is about 2.5 kilomtres. The hospitality company also operates restaurants, bars, conference centres and branded shops.
“Chandragiri is the first integrated destination in Nepal. The destination offers a perfect combination of nature, culture and history with its international standard infrastructure and safety measures,” Abhishek Bikram Shah, the General Manager of Chandragiri Hills Limited, told The Rising Nepal.
Situated at an elevation of 2,540 metres above sea level, Chandragiri is very close to Kathmandu. However, the destination is away from hustles and bustles of urban life.
Visitors can enjoy having an incredible view of many snow-capped mountain ranges from Mt. Everest to Mt. Annapurna from Chandragiri.
“From our view tower, located at a height of 2,547 metres, one can have an unhindered 180-degree view of the splendid Himalayas. Chandragiri is a rare place to offer such a mountain view,” said Shah.
The place also offers a panoramic view of the Kathmandu Valley and Chitlang in Makawanpur district.
The Chandragiri Hill also holds historical significance. The then King Prithvi Narayan Shah had devised a plan to annex the three cities of the Kathmandu Valley—Kathmandu, Bhaktapur and Patan—into his kingdom after viewing them from Chandragiri hilltop. The King was successful in his mission.
A life-size statue of the revered late King has also been installed beside the Bhaleshwor Mahadev Temple at Chandragiri. Pilgrims worship the Baleshwar Mahadev at the temple, which is now in a new look.
“Visitors are interested in learning about the historical aspect of Chandragiri as it holds the legacy of the late King,” he added.
At a time when Nepal has witnessed a fall in the stay of tourists as well as per tourist spending, the development of Chandragiri as a tourist destination has contributed to lengthening their stay in the country.
“We have been able to contribute to lengthening the stay of tourists from a half day to one and a half days because of our new tourist facilities and services,” he said
According to him, Chandragiri welcomes around 1,500-2,000 visitors daily. More visitors are expected to visit the area as the place has become more accessible due to the refurbishment of the Kalanki-Nagdhunga road.
“As the road has now become very smooth, we hope to attract more travellers in the days ahead.,” he said.
The destination can cater services to about 12,000 visitors a day.
Chandragiri has turned out to be one of the most visited retreat sites in the country in no time. The hospitality company offers many activities to entertain and amuse guests of all age groups. It has facilities like children’s playground, pony ride and shopping. Because of such facilities, the place has now become an ultimate fun destination. With floral diversity, the entire area is green.
The hospitality company has come up with a plan to expand its facilities and services. The company has already held soft opening of five-star 100-room boutique resort that was awarded ‘International Hospitality and Travel Award 2019’.
The resort will come into its full operation during the Visit Nepal Year 2020 (VNY 2020). The destination will also have an adventure park, a zip-line, paragliding and a natural history exhibition gallery.
Shah, 38-year-old, was also awarded the ‘Youngest General Manager of the Year’ by India Tourism Development Corporation, Hospitality India and GTC Events.
“We have a dedicated team of 250 plus employees. All of them are Nepalis, who offer an authentic ever smiling Nepali hospitality. We have received awards because of their dedicated efforts,” he said.
He said that the company was planning to develop Chandragiri as a major MICE (Meeting, Incentive, Conference and Exhibition) tourism and wedding destination. Besides, Chandragiri will become a preferred venue for holding bilateral meetings and retreat and official residence for Heads of States.
During his official visit to Nepal in September this year, Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi was in Chandragiri. The incident was highlighted even in China. Consequently, Chandragiri has now started witnessing more Chinese tourists.
Similarly, Bangladeshi President Mohammed Abdul Hamid also explored the beauty of Chandragiri during his recent visit to Nepal.
“Such trips by high-level foreign delegates have helped promote Chandragiri as a retreat site,” he said. Referring to tourism as a mainstay of the national economy, he said that Nepal could gain economic prosperity through that sector.
The government has come up with a motto of “Prosperous Nepal, Happy Nepali”. “We can materialise this slogan by giving a boost to the tourism industry as it is an important source of employment and revenue generation,” he said. He emphasised the need to create more destinations like Chandragiri for diversifying tourism. “Tourism has multiplier effects on the national economy. Even the grassroots level people reap benefits from tourism.”
He said Nepal could attract more tourists from China and India with their booming economy.
“More international hotel chains have come up in Nepal. This means we have more opportunities to market and promote the country across the world,” he said.
As somebody who takes the upcoming VNY 2020 as a campaign for enhancing the country’s destination image, developing products and building up infrastructure, he urged the government to focus on increasing road and air access.
“I am confident that we will exceed the VNY’s target of bringing in two million international tourists by 2020. We should organise such events with different themes every year,” he suggested.
He called on the government to work towards lengthening the stay of tourists and increasing per tourist

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