Pokhara, Nov 15 : The number of Bangladeshi visitors is expected to increase in this touristic city with the visit of President of the friendly country Bangladesh, Mohammad Abdul Hamid. The Bangladesh President, who arrived on a four-day official goodwill visit to Nepal at the invitation of President Bidya Devi Bhandari, went on a sight-seeing tour around Pokhara and also gad a boat excursion on the Phewa Lake, the main tourist attraction of the city.
He reached Rupakot Resort at Rupakot rural municipality and observed the beautiful sight of the Himalayas to the north and the lakes in Pokhara. The spectacular views along the way from Pokhara up to Rupakot not only very much attracted the visiting dignitary's fancy but it has also increased the possibility of more Bangladeshi tourists and the VVIP guests of other countries arriving in this tourism city.
Based on the experience of surge in Indian tourists in Muktinath following Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi's pilgrimage visit to this holy site last year, it is believed that President Hamid's visit will also spur more Bangladeshis to visit Nepal and Pokhara in particular.
Bangladesh is one among the member countries of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) with big population. Going by the statistics made available by Nepal Tourism Board (NTB) the number of Bangladeshi visitors however is very small. The tourist arrival data over the last few years shows that 23,440 tourists came from Bangladesh in 2016. Similarly, 29,060 Bangladeshi tourists visited Pokhara in 2017.
Likewise, 26,355 Bangladeshi tourists visited in 2018 and 19,279 Bangladeshi visitors came for visit until October 2019, Manager of NTB Pokhara office, Surya Thapaliya, said. He said President Hamid's visit is expected to lead to an increase in tourist arrival from Bangladesh.
President of Pokhara Tourism Council, Chiranjibi Pokharel believed that the Bangladesh President's visit to Pokhara will leave a positive impact in the local tourism market. "Lately visit culture is growing in Bangladesh.The Pokhara visit by the Bangladeshi President is expected to be helpful in the promotion of tourism sector here as it is likely to encourage the Banlgadesh large population to visit Nepal," he said, adding that the visit of the Head-of-the-State of a foreign nation would obviously leave a good impact on tourism sector. More, the visit is expected to contribute to connecting Bangladesh and Nepal in terms of tourism.
Tourism entrepreneur and Hotel Asia, Lakeside's operator Dharma Panthi said that in recent years, Pokhara played host to distinguished guests and his realization is that it had obviously enthused the tourism community. As he said, tourism infrastructure development is on the rise in Pokhara. He also hoped that the visit by VVIP guests would contribute to give a further lift to tourism sector in terms of quality.
When we look back in history, Pokhara has been witnessing the rise in tourist arrival since 1960. It may be noted that in 1960, the city had got an opportunity to welcome Chou En-lai, the first premier of the People's Republic of China.
Similarly, Queen Elizabeth II had visited Pokhara in 1961 and it was followed by Indian President Radhakrishnan in 1963.
Phewa Lake locating on the foothills of the glittering Himalayas, and other unique lakes, Sarangkot, Bishwashanti Stupa (World Peace Pagoda), Mahendra Cave, Chamere Cave, Gupteshwor Cave, Seti River and Davis Falls take no more time to capture the fascination of visitors. Besides these sites, Begnas, Rupa, Khaste, Dipang, Maidi and Neureni Lakes in the Lekhnath area remain as other significant touristic sites in Pokhara.
More, Pokhara was lucky as the 37th Session of the SAARC Council of Ministers (Mini SAARC Conference) was held in Pokhara, on 17 March 2016 and shortly after British Prince Harry had visited it.
During his Nepal visit in the Nepali month of Kartik, 2073 BS, the then President of India Pranab Mukherjee also visited Pokhara. Ministers for Foreign Affairs of SAARC member states and other guests who participated in the meeting of the SAARC Council of Ministers then praising Pokhara for its beauty and scenery was covered by the national and international media. President Hamid's lauding mountains and lakes of the tourist city has once again helped draw the attention of the world.
The President's visit would help create positive impact on Pokhara's tourism, said Bikal Tulachan, president of the Western Hotel Association.
The number of well-equipped hotels and infrastructures is increasing lately, he said, adding that there are around 750 general and well-equipped hotels in Pokhara and surrounding areas including approximately 12 hotels which are well-equipped enough to provide good facilities to VIPs and VVIPs. Approximately Rs 3 billion has been invested in hotels and infrastructures in the areas, he said.